THE DEVIL INSIDE
I guess there is a little devil in all of us, especially if we seek out these types of films that exploit religion for pure profit. If you have seen one of the modern exorcism films, you have seen them all. The Devil Inside uses the handheld camera effect (exactly like Paranormal Activity, complete with running times) for low budget costs and to jump on the trend wagon. This is what I would actually call a mockumentary, a film that is set up like a documentary but that is completely fake like The Blair Witch Project. A decade later, filmmakers are still benefiting from the ground that film broke as far as cheap production and maximum profit.
In 1989 Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) murdered three people during an exorcism they were performing on her. Her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) was only a little girl and grew up without her mother. Now an adult, Isabella has hired a documentarian to follow her as she travels to Rome to reconnect with her mother. Isabella meets up with two exorcist practicing priests and they decide to try and get the devil out of Maria once more. Both young exorcists admit there is something very different about Maria, as both her actions and abilities seem to differ from cases they have dealt with. The entire group will soon discover the real reason Maria Rossi was moved from America, all the way to Rome.
I couldn’t help but think this is almost the same result as if The Kardashians did an exorcism episode. This film is catering specifically to what I call the MTV crowd: young teenagers who want a few scares and some disturbingly violent images. In a way, The Devil Inside tends to be too focused on trying to make this documentary plausible (which it never achieves), leaving out what young fans likely paid to see. Recent films like The Last Exorcism and The Rite have much more depth and cheap thrills. Perhaps this would be more appealing or disturbing if we hadn’t seen the same material with the same conclusions over and over again.
The excuses used on film for why they have to be in Rome and how they manage to get in the hospital to perform the exorcism are nearly laughable. The fact that the director of the documentary is allowed to film in the hospital removes any doubt that this is even remotely factual. The overly obvious conclusion can be spotted a mile away. The Devil Inside is a marriage between Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, which isn’t even slightly an effective combination.
Final Thought – The short running time is the only thing to appreciate.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This is a nausea-producing film with a jerky camera, compounded by a sub-par script, inexperienced acting, and fake-looking special effects. I wish someone would tell the filmmakers of the horror genre that jerking the camera up and down doesn’t actually make a film more scary; it simply makes the viewer sick and have to close her eyes during much of the story. The movie opens with a 9-1-1 call that has a touch of authenticity to it, and that may be the only part that is truly based on a real story as implied by the studio. What follows is obviously made up murder scenes that are supposed to be shocking, but look more like a neighborhood Halloween set. The story of a young woman wanting to see her incarcerated mother (the confessed killer) years later and film a documentary of the encounters with her is likewise unconvincing. The turn of events thereafter are preposterous and developed solely as an attempt to shock.
An early segment of the film takes place in a classroom where a mixed group of people—some being priests--argue about whether people can actually be possessed by the devil or whether such people are simply mentally ill. This provides an opportunity for two renegade priests to convince the young woman that she must witness an actual exorcism in order to decide whether it would be something her mother needs. Afterwards, she begins to plead for her mother to have one, like someone pleading for the latest medical treatment for a dying relative.
A curious part of the film are the repeated assertions that the Catholic Church regards the exorcists as renegades and do not approve their activities, although they do approve some cases that are “proven” to be associated with the devil. Is this supposed to make the audience sympathetic toward the “rebel” priests who insist on conducting exorcisms on their own?
Unfortunately, this early in the year, I anticipate The Devil Inside will make it to my list of the worst films.