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Movie Review: "The Devil Inside" (2012)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
Didn't this movie come out last year around the same time in January? I'm pretty sure it did, but it was released under a different title... "The Rite"? Basically, it's the same crap all over again here. Say, maybe this will be like an ongoing thing in January for every year from now on? If they happen to release another boring exorcism film in January of next year, don't say I didn't warn you.
"The Devil Inside" is a found footage film and an exorcism film all rolled into one mess. It's the story of Maria Rossi, a mother who ends up becoming possessed and admitted to a psych ward in Italy after she killed three people during an exorcism. Twenty years later, her daughter, Isabella, is filming a documentary on exorcisms and is seeking to uncover what really happened to her mother.
First, she goes to visit her mother in the psych ward. Here, we get to see one of the most hilarious possessed performances ever, this has to be the funniest thing I've seen since "Repossessed". Maria is right up in Isabella's face, their eyes locked, Maria breaks the stalemate with a funny smirk and screams like an animated loony.
Moving on, Isabella and her cameraman visit an exorcism class (WTF?) in Rome where they meet two priests, Ben and David. To waste time, because the writer could not come up with something for the characters to do during the middle portion of the film, the two priests take them to a real exorcism in a basement somewhere.
When that cliched and un-scary scene is over, they go back to Maria to determine whether she's really possessed or crazy. Long story short, she's possessed by four demons altogether. Isn't that convenient? Because we happen to have four main characters making a documentary here. Hmm... I'll let you, my fellow readers, put the rest of the pieces together.
Now, let's begin with the statement that keeps popping up in the damn previews...
"The Vatican Did Not Endorse This Movie"
Really? He didn't? Wow, I'm really scared now. This must be some seriously dark and messed up movie if he didn't endorse it, right? It must really make you wet your pants while watching it, huh?
I wonder what other films the Vatican did not endorse as well. Maybe "The Exorcist", "Die Hard", "Night of the Living Dead", "Eyes Wide Shut", "The Human Centipede", "Hostel", "A Serbian Film", "Lethal Weapon", "First Blood", "Jurassic Park", anything with Michael Bay's name on it, and, oh, I don't know... anything that defies religious beliefs, has curse words, or even a sex scene? Yeah, I guess the Vatican didn't endorse like almost every single movie ever made in that case.
Enough is Enough
It becomes clear that a genre or certain type of film doesn't work anymore when the same overused elements bore you to death. Contorted actors, demonic voices, dilated pupils, upside-down crosses, a heroic priest trying to save the day, an innocent girl getting possessed, and many more I can't list because my head is starting to hurt already.
Seriously, do these things really excite people anymore? How many times have we seen this crap in the past ten or so years?
- "Dominion: A Prequel to The Exoricst"
- "Exorcist: The Beginning"
- "The Last Exorcism"
- "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
- "The Rite"
- and the list goes on...
All these movies listed above were released within the past decade sometime, the earliest one ("Stigmata") being 1999. How many times are we going to see the same damn thing over and over again? A young and innocent girl getting possessed, talks in an old man's voice, says nasty things, bends her body, and a priest (or group of) try to save her. Yawn...
And why is a girl getting possessed almost all the time? At least in the "[REC]" films, the possession isn't sexist for Christ's sake. Also, I think there was at least one man possessed in both "The Exorcist III: Legion" and "The Exorcist: The Beginning".
Connect The Cuts
Only an '80s horror fan would know where this line really came from. The line originated in the 1987 film, "The Curse", starring Wil Wheaton. It was said by the lady playing his mother, who at this point was sick in the film and turning into a creature, strange lesions appeared on her body and she began sewing in between them on her skin, thus came the line, "Connect the dots".
Although they changed two of the letters around, it's pretty much the same darn thing all over again. Nice try, morons.
The Stupid Nun
Ah yes, one of the most memorable and overused shots from the previews of "The Devil Inside" -- the creepy nun with the cataract eyes. I so had to touch upon this bit right here, I have to put some emphasis on the word 'bit' because this scene (or should I say 'shot') is so minor that you won't care once it's over.
The previews make it out to be a big thing, but when you watch the film, you find yourself asking what's the point? When you see the cataract-eyed nun in the movie, the group happens to be on their way to the Vatican's exorcism class, if I recall correctly, and they just happen to pass by three nuns standing on a bridge.
The idiot holding the camera just glances at her as she gazes back at him, and he doesn't even bother to question what he's seeing. He could have told his group to stop and wait a minute, then say to the nun:
"Excuse me, maim, but what is wrong with your eyes?"
Obviously, she was freaking possessed! Isn't this the nonsense they were trying to film anyway? And I thought there were only four demons in this movie, so was the nun possessed by one of them? I give up. What a useless shot that goes nowhere.
Boy oh boy...
Chances are you may have heard about this complaint from just about anyone who has seen it. The ending is a big mess. There's a sequence with the remaining three characters driving somewhere in a car with Isabella possessed in the backseat, one of the priests trying to revive her, while the camera guy drives.
In classic found footage formula, they all end up dying from the demons possessing them and the film cuts to black just in the middle, right in the thick, of the damn action as the car is crashing. Then a title card appears saying something to the effect of... This case remains unsolved. Please visit www.therossifiles.com to find out more information about the case.
Wow, talk about a major cop out ending. Nah, forget that, it's a ridiculous ending. You cut to black when something exciting is happening and then you tell the audience to go to some website? How genius, perhaps I should be taking filmmaking notes since this turd of a screenplay actually got produced.
One more thing, the running time. If you research this, you will learn that the running time is 87 minutes.... WITH CREDITS. Sorry to disappoint, my fellow readers, but without the credits, "The Devil Inside" is nothing more than a whopping 75-76 minutes. I timed it myself. Trust me, it's over before you know it.
Why Did "The Devil Inside" Make So Much Money?
That's the big question, isn't it? Why did so many people go to see this on its opening weekend? Well, one big factor is time of its release. In January, there's usually no competition at all. But little do most movie-goers know, January is typically Hollywood's dumping ground for crap (there are rare exceptions like "Cloverfield" though, but rare is the keyword).
But really, no other film opened on Friday, January 6th of 2012. Some December releases were still playing -- "War Horse" is a dramatic family film, "The Darkest Hour" is another boring alien invasion film which didn't get much advertisement to begin with, and another stupid Chipmunks movie was playing. The only movie that was 'remotely' exciting that was still in theaters was "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (which was very good, by the way), but that had been out since the middle of December and "The Devil Inside" managed to knock it into the number two spot that weekend.
The people who went to see "The Devil Inside" were either very bored and had nothing else to do or they were tricked into actually believing that... somehow, magically... this movie could be good. How? I don't know. You can tell by the previews before its release that it was going to suck. There's nothing to distinguish it from recent run-of-the-mill exorcism films. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" used the courtroom drama angle which was refreshing, "The Last Exorcism" used the documentary approach as well but they had an interesting main character who was fabricating his own work.
But what does "The Devil Inside" have that makes it different? I don't know, you tell me.
Remedies for "The Devil Inside"
- If this film didn't employ the same cheap scare tactics and exorcism film cliches, it would have benefited it.
- What would have benefited "The Devil Inside" even more is putting a different spin on the the exorcism film genre (i.e. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose").
- Hiring actors who can actually act and act like they are actors.
- If none of this is doable, then a toilet would do just fine.
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