The Devil Inside

10 Feb

Title: The Devil Inside
Year: 2012
Director: William Brent Bell
Writers: William Brent Bell and Matthew Peterman
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Suzan Crowley
MPAA Rating: R, disturbing violent content and grisly images, and for language including some sexual references
Runtime: 87 min
IMDb Rating: 3.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 5%
Metacritic: 18

The first 2012 release I’ve watched is already a candidate for one of the year’s worst films. The October-November-December span is when the awards-baity kind of films come out, the really good ones; last year 13 out of my Top 20 films were released in those three months, with another 3 having been released in September. So yeah, the difference between that final stretch of a year and this initial one of a new one is always notorious as far as quality of films goes, and 2012 seems to be no different. The Devil Inside was the film I chose to inaugurate my 2012 Rankings with, and boy was that a mistake, it’s such a cheap-looking messy film, a horror film without a single halfway-decent scare, not to mention that the ending is just so, so atrocious. Avoid this one at all costs, people.

Everything is bad in this film, and I really mean everything; the acting, writing and directing seem to be from people who are failing their first year at film school. It’s the newest addition to the horror subgenre of “found footage” films that seem to be all the rage now because they make it seem as though stuff actually happened and because they’re mad cheap for people to make. The story the film tells starts in the late eighties when there was a 911 call from a woman claiming to have killed three people, and now, twenty years after the fact, her daughter seeks to really understand what happened, so she travels to a hospital for the criminally insane in Italy to figure out if her mom is just crazy or possessed by demons. What then happens is that she gets a couple of exorcists to do their weird cooky job on her mom and they find out that not only was her mother possessed by a demon; she was possessed by four. The daughter of course had a filmmaker tag along for the ride to record it all as it happened.

That’s the plot, and let me just tell you one thing, it actually would have worked splendidly well had this film been a comedy, a parody of exorcism movies. Had this film not played out seriously, had it acknowledged just how stupid and ridiculous it was and actually wanted the laughs it nonetheless got, it would have worked out like a silly little parody, and at least it wouldn’t have been as horrible as it ultimately was. What’s worse is that this film, made for about $1 million has already made over $55 million, which means people have actually bought into this crap, thought it did receive an F grade from CinemaScore, so maybe they won’t make the same mistake again.

The film starts throwing new plot elements at us that it never has the intention to actually resolve, working its way for an hour and a half to that ending that I, and many others, hated so much. It was an abrupt conclusion to the story, meant to be shocking, but that was only surprising in how it managed to be so stupid, certainly one of the worst endings to a film in some years. In fact, the film itself maybe wouldn’t have been as horrible had it not had this ending. And considering I’m seriously recommending that you don’t see this film, I’ll actually go ahead and spoil the ending for you guys. What we get is that the various demons that possess the mother actually jump into the daughter, the two priests and the cameraman, and then in the final scene the cameraman is driving the daughter to see an exorcism expert in Rome when the demon takes over and makes him take a deadly turn into oncoming traffic. And that’s it.

As if that abrupt ending wasn’t horrible enough, it actually gets worse. You see, after that scene I just recounted takes place, a title card comes up on screen, telling us that the facts surrounding this mysterious case remain unsolved, and giving us a website for us to visit to find out more about the investigation (I remember the website name but won’t say it so that it doesn’t get any more visitors it doesn’t deserve). That stupid twist makes me feel like I was taken advantage of as an audience member by a marketing team trying to give us viral material that usually comes before the film’s release to tease us into seeing it, not the other way round.

If it’s not clear enough already, I strongly advice against seeing The Devil Inside. Even if you take away the infuriating ending, you still are left with a film that’s just uninteresting, one that seems to think highly of itself because it came up with a plot line that intersected science and religion, even though it never really delves into those issues. The acting is incredibly lame; the writing is stupid, relying too much on expository scenes and talk-to-the-camera moments; the direction is bad, never once knowing how to handle an exorcism scene or get actual scares; and the whole film looks really cheap, and maybe that would be a good excuse for the unforgivable ending, they could say they ran out of money.

Grade: D-


One Response to “The Devil Inside”

  1. youjivinmeturkey February 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    (*Breaks Out INXS Album*)
    (*Begins Rockin’ Out*)
    (*Starts Humming “The Devil Inside”*)


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