By Dalton Carver
When I saw the first previews and trailers for The Devil Inside, I grew a bit nervous. The film looked quite frightening and I knew my friends were going to go see it, not to mention that I’m not a huge fan of demons or anything involving them. After I finally pulled my courage from the depths of my soul, I took my seat in the theater. After my experiences there, I have only one thing to say. Don’t believe the hype.
The film, directed by William Brent Bell, revolves around Isabella Rossi, played by Fernanda Andrade, and her mother, Maria Rossi, played by Suzan Crowley. During her own exorcism in 1989, Maria killed three of the priests attempting to save her. She was found criminally insane, and sent to a mental hospital located in the Vatican, an odd and intriguing location for a movie about demons. Unfortunately, not much is done with or for the setting, creating the first disappointment for audiences.
Like so many recent horror films, The Devil Inside goes for the documentary-type movie approach. Everything is filmed similar to Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield, in a first-person perspective. However, this was definitely the worst time to enter into this type of tried and true film making. It’s just been done too many times before, and the film offers no new variations on the technique. In fact, it’s much worse in some scenes, getting way too close to the actors and making the audience lose focus on what’s really going on in the film.
Isabella, trying to find the truth behind her mother’s accident, travels to the Vatican to better understand exorcisms and the supernatural. During a class lecturing on such, she meets up with Ben and David, played by Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth respectively, priests who practice exorcisms outside the church’s jurisdiction and permission. Probably the most intriguing part of the entire film, this premise could be made into a movie all by itself.
Eventually, Isabella goes to visit her mother in the mental hospital. During her visit, she is disturbed by Maria’s extremely peculiar and frightening behavior. She brings the evidence she documented to Ben and David, who surmise that her mother could possibly be possessed. They decide to make a second visit, where Ben and David provoke the demon into revealing itself. This has disastrous effects, as the priests discover that Maria is not possessed by just one demon, but four.
From here, the movie just starts going downhill, even more so than it already was. Events take place too quickly and audiences can easily guess what has occurred since their second visit to Maria. Barring a few frightening and disturbing moments, the movie eventually leads up to one of the worst endings I have ever seen. I don’t encourage anyone to go and experience that level of disappointment. There was literally booing throughout the theater.
With all the recent horror documentary films being made, including the recently released and reviewed Paranormal Activity 3, The Devil Inside is quite a few steps below the rest of the competition. Despite its scary scenes viewed in trailers, the movie really offers no horror that most audiences of the genre crave. In fact, the scariest moments in the film are the scenes from the trailers. Despite having some major potential in plot, The Devil Inside’s shoddy camera work and horrible ending left me with an unfinished and unsatisfied feeling about the entire film. It could’ve been at least a good film with a little more effort, but it turns out that theater audiences can’t always get what they want.
Dalton Carver is a freshman majoring in Communication. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.