It’s really hard to review a movie like The Devil Inside, because it’s not really even a full movie; it’s half a movie. The film begins in familiar exorcism territory and just when it starts getting good it abruptly ends. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest; it literally goes from mid-scene to end credits. It’s not the kind of movie that tacks on a rushed 15 minute ending that was obviously forced on by the studios for sequel purposes. Oh no, The Devil Inside just ends mid-movie. The characters are in the middle of doing something that’s important for the films story and it just ends without any resolution whatsoever.
A young lady by the name of Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) travels to Italy to uncover the truth about real life exorcism’s after her mother brutally murders three people during her own exorcism. After realizing that the church won’t help her she finds two men by the names of Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth); that perform unauthorized exorcisms. They offer the chance for Isabella to come along with them and witness the experience firsthand so that she can hopefully find the answers to her mother’s problem.
Trouble arises after several exorcisms and Isabella, Ben, David and the cameraman must stop evil demon forces that attempt to corrupt their faith and their well-being.
It’s a real shame that the film has a non-ending, because I was actually starting to get into it. I went in with low expectations and found myself laughing at the much needed humor inserted throughout and leaning back during some of the bloodier sequences. It was going above and beyond my expectations and shaping up to be a good film and then the camera stops rolling. It’s no secret as to why the studio did this, but it just pisses me off knowing I just wasted an hour leading to nothing. It’s an obvious experiment by the studio to see how much money they can make and if they can get people wanting the end result. I think it’ll backfire and people will just express how pissed off they are.
Non-ending aside, the film isn’t a horror masterpiece. It uses the tired found footage angle for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t enhance the story or make the scares scarier; it just makes you kind of sick from all of the amateur shaky camera movement. It also drops in little character interviews over the story’s layout to explain more for the people that have a hard time piecing together such a simple plot. It’s one of the weaker efforts in the found footage genre, but where it falls in camera movement it makes up in horror.
The film features a nice amount of practical blood effects. I liked the pure horror feel that it gives off. The devil isn’t supposed to be nice and the film reminds you of that numerous times when he’s throwing people across the room and drowning innocent babies in holy water. There’s some freaky body contortion and blood spillage that’s unsettling. They also bring out the inner horn-dog when the demon possesses a young girl. It’s dark stuff and it plays it without any resistance, which is a surprise in the recent wave of PG-13 aka family friendly exorcism films. I’ve always questioned the logic in that because you’d think that the devil or his demon spawns would use inappropriate language while causing harm to others in a disturbing manner.
The performances are a mixed bag. Some moments are believable and some are over dramatic. You don’t really expect much from a bunch of no names and found footage films often use the filming style to their advantage by saying that these aren’t real actors, so the people in the films aren’t going to be providing good performances, but that’s just one of many lazy excuses used in cheaply made films like this.
It’s still really hard to come down on The Devil Inside because there are some really good things in it, but most of those things are cancelled out by the god awful ending. It’s lazy and wasteful of everything before it. I understand why the studio did it, but I don’t commend films that take the easy way out without finishing the groundwork. I don’t want to go back for a sequel to see what happens next because they had the ability to add that in the first time around. The film felt short and could have used another 20 minutes to its advantage, but instead of giving you an ending you just get unanswered questions and a half cooked story.
The Devil Inside – 6/10