Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Devil Inside; A Swing And A Miss

The Devil Inside is presented as assembled found footage that follows twenty-something Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) as she reunites with her mother, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), and searches for an exorcist that can free Maria of a long-running demon possession. Maria has been locked away in a Catholic psychiatric ward, following an attempted exorcism that resulted in the murder of three people 20 years prior. Some moviegoers will no doubt be ready to compare The Devil Inside to the 2010 film The Last Exorcism – since the film also features unique locales, documentary-style filmmaking, body-contorting horror sequences, and a weighty religious side-arc.
The exorcisms in the film deliver some intriguing moments, but while there are definitely a number of jump scares throughout The Devil Inside, overall the ‘scariest’ points tend to be less ‘frightening’ and rely on expectation and tension more than in-your-face frights.
For better or for worse The Devil Inside spends a lot of time developing the primary characters – especially how the two main exorcists in the film feel about the Catholic Church.
Along with the primary narrative arc involving Isabella, the movie spends a lot of time developing side stories, all for very little payoff.
The result is an uneven narrative experience that’s front-loaded with too much exposition and ends without any real payoff for the characters. Similarly, audience members will probably find the film’s conclusion extremely abrupt or possibly outright infuriating – at least if they are hoping for an interesting (or exciting) climactic resolution. That said the most outright bizarre aspect of the film is the way that the ‘documentary’ is actually presented onscreen. A number of segments feature hand-held camera work, via cameraman Michael (Ionut Grama), coupled with static security-like footage. However, on more than one occasion following close-up hand-held camera footage The Devil Inside cuts to one of the static shots (where Isabella and Rosa are the only ones in the room, for example). While some moviegoers will no doubt consider this nit-picking, the success of ‘found footage’ films is in their ability to attempt to trick the audience into believing that these things actually happened. As a result, anyone who is invested in how the film is being presented will likely be pulled out – due to the inconsistent strategies in presenting the footage. Overall, fans of the genre are likely to enjoy elements of the film though, given the slow, exposition-heavy opening act and a total lack of any ending or closure, many moviegoers will leave the theatre feeling as though the experience wasn’t worth the ticket money.
The Sunday Leader By Sohail Jamudeen