Arts & CultureFilm & TV

‘The Devil Inside’ needs an exorcism

Watching “The Devil Inside” made me feel so dirty that my eyes contracted gonorrhea.@@[email protected]@  A poorly written automobile-accident-of-a-film with a terrible plot, lackluster performances and a mockumentary “found film” style that evokes more headaches than magic eye calendars. Now, the bad news: You have to pay to see it.

The tale begins in 1989 when a young girl, Isabella, is more or less orphaned when her mother, Maria, kills the three people trying to perform an exorcism on her in the family home. Like all insane convicts in the American justice system, Maria is transported to live out her remaining, crazy years in an insane asylum in Rome. The triple-murder vacation package is one of the better kept secrets in the travel industry, apparently.@@[email protected]@ Why did she get shipped off to Rome? We never know. This is one of many plot threads that are kept dangling just out of reach.

Isabella meets up with a filmmaker (who is constantly wearing the obligatory and cliche-long “filmmaker scarf”) and a couple of nigh-renegade, Catholic priests doing “off-the-books” exorcisms without the church’s knowledge. Without any type of credentials, the lead character is able to just waltz right into some Vatican exorcism classes and then get invited to witness an exorcism that the priests have lined up for the night. The priests seem to do these unsanctioned exorcisms so often that they have a creepy “priest cave” room with all kinds of electronic equipment to use “science” to help “deduce” whether or not the individual is possessed or stark, raving mad. All that is beside the fact that the audience isn’t given any reason to care about the characters. I had no connection at all to anything they had to say or anything they wanted to do. If a movie doesn’t sell you on the characters in the first 10 minutes, it has failed.@@[email protected]@

I could go more into the plot, but I won’t. Not because I don’t want to ruin it for you, but because you can figure it out in the first 20 minutes for yourself. The poor writing is criminal. Worse yet, this steaming pile of celluloid was distributed to major theater chains.

The acting is almost serviceable, but in this case, that’s like saying the paint-chip sandwich that you’re eating is made with a healthy, high-fiber wheat bread.@@[email protected]@

I have to admit that I do like the idea of the “found footage” genre. I think it was clever for its time. But with camera movements that border on the manic, you’d think that the floor had marbles scattered all over it. So what if “Paranormal Activity” was successful as “The Blair Witch Project” was 13 years ago? Gritty camera work does not make up for not being creative.

This wretched film is easily one of the worst of the year. Sure, we’re only a few weeks into it, but at this rate it would be too much effort to make a movie that is more of a disaster than this one.@@[email protected]@ This didn’t seem like an attempt to tell a good story; it seemed to be a good way to bilk a little bit more money out of people wanting to see a scary flick using tired conventions. It was around 80 minutes long, and I wanted it to be over after the first 10. If you’re tired of watching the grass grow and like closing your hand in a car door for kicks, then this may be the movie for you.@@[email protected]@ Otherwise, stay far away.

Final Grade: F

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