Deliver Us From Evil Blu-ray Review
Detective Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana, LONE SURVIVOR) has a bit of a reputation, according to his partner (COMMUNITY’s Joel McHale, who apparently took a few style cues from Fred Durst), for being lured to a certain kind of crime scene: ones that might not sound all that exciting when they come through the radio, but end up being gruesome.
Sarchie and Butler are driving through the dark New York City streets when they get a call regarding domestic violence. This leads to a chase through the rainy streets and Sarchie having to get stitches due to a knife slash. Another call leads Sarchie to the Bronx Zoo, where a woman threw her child into the lion’s cage. This leads to him being nearly mauled by the big cats. Another call takes Sarchie to a family who believes their house (with flickering lights and all) is possessed. (Yes, these will all be connected somehow.( Through the cases, he meets Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez, who played the title role in Olivier Assaya’s epic CARLOS), a Jesuit priest who is working as a specialist for one of the families and will come in quite handy for the inevitable exorcism, which is one of the few effectively executed sequences in the movie.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL is “inspired by the actual accounts” and Sarchie’s book, “Beware the Night,” which he co-authored with Lisa Collier Cool. Certainly the “actual accounts” must have been quite unsettling and defining in Sarchie’s life (he would later leave the force and become a demonologist), but that doesn’t translate in the movie terribly well.
The screenplay by director Scott Derrickson (whose previous credits include 2012’s SINISTER and 2005’s THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, a strong entry in the possessed girl subgenre) and Paul Harris Boardman (who teamed with Derrickson on EMILY ROSE, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT and more) treats the story as plausible and the characters as human, but this only takes the movie so far.
Despite Derrickson and Boardman’s efforts there and to weave all of the events together to create a coherent story, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, like so many other haunting/possession movies, is really just a series of sequences meant to lead to the next spooky sight. And like so many before it, the majority of the scares in the movie are cheap (and are achieved by cinematographer Scott Kevan’s uninspired work): animals jump out of nowhere, faces suddenly appear before the characters, frightening sights pop up just as the flashlight hits.
One of the draws for those who have seen enough of these sorts of movies is the cast: Bana and Ramírez are both convincing enough and help the viewer stay involved, while the supporting cast of McHale and Olivia Munn (2012’s FREELOADERS), as Sarchie’s pregnant wife, add some respectability.
Still, this has all been done before and certainly better (even by Derrickson), and so the viewer is left with nothing that stands out and very little that can differentiate DELIVER US FROM EVIL from the rest.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The black levels are deep and inky, which heightens the scares and adds to the overall atmosphere of DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The clarity and depth of the sound effects and score also add greatly to the feel of the movie.
Commentary with director Scott Derrickson: Derrickson delivers a highly listenable and thorough track that covers a number of aspects, including the special effects, the real Ralph Sarchie, themes and more. A strong addition to the disc.
Illuminating Evil (13:36): This featurette looks at Ralph Sarchie and his book, which inspired DELIVER US FROM EVIL. Interviewees including Derrickson and producer Jerry Bruckheimer touch on meeting Sarchie, adapting the book, the themes and more.
Deliver Us from Demons (8:25) looks at the makeup and prosthetics work in DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
The Two Sergeants (8:04): Derrickson and others discuss why it’s not entirely important to be faithful to the facts in order to make a dramatic movie and portray the actual people with accuracy.
The Demon Detective (9:37) puts Sarchie under the spotlight.