Deliver Us From Evil was truly unlike any horror movie I’ve ever seen. Although that’s not necessarily a compliment, I’m not mad that I saw it. It was pretty bizarre at some times, laughable at others, but Scott Derrickson’s latest flick was nothing if not interesting.
The first several scenes were pretty confusing. The movie was trying to introduce all of the characters separately and establish all of their stories, but it would have been smoother if they had just jumped into it. The movie flowed a lot better once all of the setup was out of the way. We meet Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his partner, Butler (Joel McHale). Sarchie has a sixth sense that alerts him to evil. McHale is adorably unbelievable as a cop, or really, as anyone other than Joel McHale. He gets into two separate knife fights (knife fights!) with demons in this movie. That’s all you need to know about him. The two answer a domestic violence call that leads them to a chain of crimes tied together with demonic possession.
My favorite thing about this film was its mix of mundane crime drama and dramatic exorcist horror. Sarchie has a classic case of never-seen-a-horror-film-before throughout the film, refusing to even consider that the obviously possessed people before him are under the influence of anything other than drugs. He’s extraordinarily casual when faced with demon activity. A corpse literally explodes with bugs, and he just kind of makes a face and keeps looking around for clues. He’s constantly trying to put demons in handcuffs. It’s kind of amazing.
This movie mixes up the classic exorcism story a little. Instead of the main character being plagued with demons, we’re literally chasing them down. Like, seeking out the demons. There are quite a few eye-roll moments and flat jokes that take the viewer out of horror movie mode, but it has its classic clueless horror movie moments, too. For example, when Butler takes 19 flights of stairs to catch a demon rather than using the perfectly functioning elevator that the demon used.
At its weirdest, Deliver Us From Evil is a movie about demons who are obsessed with The Doors. At its most boring, it’s about a cop who neglects his family because of a dark secret. It wasn’t a good movie, but it kept my interest. I would recommend it for a Netflix night after you and your friends have been arguing for half an hour about what to watch.