Spoiler Free Plot Synopsis
In DELIVER US FROM EVIL, New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Based upon the book, which details Sarchie's bone-chilling real-life cases. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment via IMDB
When you hear a horror film is based on real events there are two schools of thought. The first one being that the source material will be bastardized to the point where it's unrecognizable and the second being that Hollywood will do a decent job and it'll be moderately enjoyable. The recent idea of horror films using real world source material has been happening a lot lately with successes like The Conjuring and duds like The Rite. However, Deliver Us From Evil definitely delivered not only a solid story but some decent scares as well. Eric Bana joins actors like Ethan Hawke and Patrick Wilson who come from strong drama genres and get a shot in the arm due to their solid work in horror films. Bana did a solid job in his portrayal of police officer Ralph Sarchie but his “New York” accent was awful and at times sounded more like a Boston accent instead of a New York one. A small gripe, but a noticeable one for a native New Yorker like myself. Bana's chemistry with his co-stars was the true high point of the film. I feel that his best chemistry on-screen was with Joel McHale who many know from his work on The Soup and Community. McHale held his own against the veteran Bana and honestly showed some great range with his acting . His work in the film was a far departure from his more lighthearted work and I hope we see more it in the future.
I also have to acknowledge that Oliva Munn did a good job as the wife of Eric Bana's Ralph Sarchie. She has come a long way from the Attack of The Show and her most recent work in The Newsroom has definitely paid off. Edgar Ramirez was pretty good as Father Mendoza, but I felt he got lost in the shuffle alongside Eric Bana. He wasn't terrible but I think his role could have worked better with someone who can hold their own on screen with Bana.
The visuals for the film were gory but not to the point of distraction. I also felt the “scares” were well executed and made the audience gasp at the appropriate moments. which considering the recent track record of sub par horror films is a nice change. The film used elements from Se7en and The Exorcist which considering how iconic they are it was not a bad thing and the effects definitely were inspired by both films. I also want to acknowledge the fight scene choreography in the close-quarter combat scenes because they were very well done and extremely believable. The knife fight scene with Joel McHale will definitely standout when you watch the film.
Deliver Us From Evil was a throwback to the supernatural horror films that were actually good. It had the right amount of scares and gore which, when coupled with the solid story, made for an enjoyable film. If you like films like Se7en you will definitely like Deliver Us From Evil. Is it worth a trip to the box office? It is, but it needs to be enjoyed in a theater with a good sound system to full enjoy the experience. If the sound is shit it will take away from the enjoyment of the film. If you can't catch it in the theater I definitely recommend checking it out on Blu-ray if you have a great home theater system.