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The Devil Inside

A movie directed by William Brent Bell

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Stay outside for this one.

  • Jun 14, 2012
*1/2 out of ****

On October 30, 1989; it is said that an elderly woman made a 9/11 phone call in which she revealed to have killed three people. Through an excruciatingly dull walk-through of the crime scene, we learn that the victims were found mutilated almost beyond recognition with religious items such as a crucifix at their side. The deceased were conducting an exorcism on the perpetrator of the crimes when she killed them. The woman, Marie Rossi, is moved to a psychiatric ward in Rome, Italy. Her case has been talked about for years, although if she really was possessed and in need of that exorcism that ultimately failed, she has not been getting the proper treatment. Marie has a daughter, Isabella Rossi, who hasn't seen her mother in years due to her being locked away like some rampart animal. However, Isabella is willing to make arrangements. Intrigued by the whole case, she flies to Rome with a documentary crew so that she may (1.) see her psycho mother again, (2.) meet some kindly Catholics to use as primary sources and perhaps even actors in her film, and (3.) bring back some kick-ass, on-the-scene footage of what is assumed to be real exorcisms. But alas, this is not a provocative study of faith or a crisis of faith; it is a merely a narrative that talks big but delivers so little.

I don't even think it's worth talking about in great detail at this point. Isabella befriends two priests - Ben and David - who intend to give her the recorded evidence that she desires. After a distressing 20-years-in-the-making reunion with psycho mom, they bring her along with them to an exorcism of their own; on a young woman clearly played here by a contortionist. It is in this prolonged scene that we learn something rather important: that technology now plays a pretty huge role in exorcisms; as they can now properly determine, through their fancy little gadgets, whether it is mental illness or possession. But remember: they haven't yet developed technology that can help you battle demonic forces from beyond, or rather, the devil himself. Demons are dark, vile beings of inhuman strength and logic; and this seems to be something that "The Devil Inside" understands quite well. But still, that's one of the only things it does understand.

Shot in a thoroughly found-footage style, the film - directed by William Brent Bell - is another typical shaky cam celebration of all things corny and derivative. It makes no proper attempt to separate itself from other exorcism films of the past or have a unique voice of its own. A found-footage exorcism flick has been done before, and successfully, in 2010's "The Last Exorcism"; but clearly you've got some people that know how to use the filmmaking style to their advantage and then on the other end of the spectrum you've got a couple morons with a shitty camcorder. Guess where Mr. Bell - whose debut feature "Stay Alive" was an insult to the nefarious Elizabeth Bathory and her bloody legacy - ends up? By demonstrating a complete inability to conjure up any sort of atmosphere or suspense whatsoever, Bell accidentally lands himself right at the bottom of the found footage trash heap. If this is what a professional looks like, then I don't want to live on this planet any more.

But of course, the film isn't all bad. Most of it is set in Rome, and the film's puny brain utilizes its surroundings as much as it possibly can. Which essentially means that, while it's not going to utilize it nearly enough to satisfy, the fact that it utilizes it at all is - to say the least - mildly impressive. And then there are a few effective sequences, such as a baby's baptism gone wrong, which hope to give the darned thing some merit; but by the end, the whole thing is just so goddamn stupid that you can't forgive it whatsoever for its faults. The icing on the cake is a truly piece-of-shit ending that perhaps aspires to go down in history as one of the worst horror movie send-offs of all time. It implies a sequel, although judging by the critical reception and box office results; the filmmakers on board might not get what they want. Hell, they intended for this one to be the next "Paranormal Activity", and look where that got them. Case in point; make your own movie, and make it passionately. Bell and his team were hell-bent on crafting a cheap cash-in from the very beginning, and that is why "The Devil Inside" is such a failure. It's bad to the point where it is watchable - and if you dig bad movies, check it out sometime - but also boring to the very bone. Either way, by the time the end title card - which urges the viewer to revert to a website linked to the "true stories" that serve as the central drive for the film's narrative - pops up, you'll feel manipulated and possessed by nothing more or less than the desire to yawn.

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June 15, 2012
this was so disappointing--I had to get drunk after I saw it LOL!
More The Devil Inside reviews
review by . January 08, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Quite More Like
The power of suggestion is a pretty strong marketing ploy. Recent movies such as “The Fourth Kind”, “Apollo 18” and the “Paranormal Activity” franchise have all but made their movies’ premise revolve around the eerie feeling of dread and suggested reality ever since the success of the “Blair Witch Project”. “The Devil Inside” is another such film that uses the suggestion that it had been inspired by true events (I am not at liberty …
review by . January 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
So my sister finally convinced me to leave my house and *gasp* pay $10 to see a movie, the adventure she picked out for us was The Devil Inside, now im going to try not to spoil this for everyone who has yet to see it,but it may happen so i apoligize in advance. I would like to start out saying i love a good horror film, but they are so few and far between these days that im often disappointed, and today was no different, not only was i not in the least bit scared but i was laughing at some points …
review by . January 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Devil Inside is the first demonic possession film I know of to entertain the idea of back-alley exorcisms – that is, those performed by ordained exorcists outside official religious jurisdiction. They’re portrayed as progressives eager to bypass the hypocritical and bureaucratic sanctioning of the church, which, according to them, has been alarmingly selective when it comes to who can and cannot receive the services of an exorcist. …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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