Main cast: Eric Bana (Ralph Sarchie), Édgar Ramírez (Mendoza), Olivia Munn (Jen Sarchie), Valentina Rendón (Claudia Sarchie), Joel McHale (Butler), Olivia Horton (Jane Crenna), and Sean Harris (Santino)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Deliver Us from Evil is apparently based on demonologist and former NYPD cop Ralph Sarchie’s experiences on the streets of New York that led to his eventual career change. I have no opinion about the existence of demons or guys with jobs like Mr Sarchie – I really don’t, honest – but I do enjoy a supernatural thriller, so I watch this one without knowing much about it.
The story begins one night when Ralph and his partner Butler encounter first an ex-military officer that beat the crap out of his wife and later a mother that throws her baby into a ditch at the lion exhibit area in the zoo. These soon discover that the two crimes are related by the fact that the officer and the husband of the mother served with another man, Santino, before they were honorably discharged. Now, there is a possibility that these men have been possessed by something… evil… after stumbling upon a mysterious shrine in Iraq. Fortunately, there is an unconventional Jesuit priest, Mendoza, who is happy to help Ralph and Butler provided they keep their mind open about the things he has to tell them. Also, Mendoza tells Ralph that his “radar” (which is how Butler describes Ralph’s intuition when it comes to danger) is actually an ability to sense menacing threats that couldn’t be seen by most ordinary people. Ralph’s gift makes him a target by evil and both his wife and daughter are now in danger as well.
There is a pretty cool exorcism scene, served along with some interesting information about how Jesuit priests conduct exorcism. However, the bulk of Deliver Us from Evil is pretty standard, even clichéd, stuff. The scares are few and in between, and what pass for scares are scenes that I have seen many times before in movies of this sort.
Even if the scares aren’t that good, things would still be fine if there is a compelling reason to root for the main characters. Unfortunately, while Eric Bana obliges by wearing clothes that show off his biceps, his haircut accentuates those large rabbit-like ears. Ralph has the standard “my wife and my kid need me, but I’m too busy saving the world!” woes – again, seen that many times before, and this particular version of that drama isn’t anything interesting or refreshing to stand out from the rest. Mendoza could be an interesting character, but they couldn’t help him overshadow Ralph – star of the show, remember – so he is basically that cute guy that waves a crucifix around and says hot stuff in Latin.
Perhaps the worst thing about this movie is how much of an anticlimax the end of the movie is. After all that build-up towards what seem like a great evil at work to pull off some big nefarious plan or something, the whole thing boils down to a standard cop marathon to save the victims thing – and the victims getting kidnapped is such a predictable development; I call it the moment these characters show up on screen. The movie would have made a more powerful impact if the wife and the daughter were killed off.
Deliver Us from Evil will do as something to kill time with on a dreary day, but it’s a by-the-numbers supernatural thriller that pass off clichés as scares. The fact that it deflates like a ruptured balloon in its last ten minutes is the worst thing of all. This movie needs to have more bite, more evil to justify its existence.