Dissolves. So this is about an NYPD cop (Eric Bana) investigating a series of crimes. When things take a turn for the supernatural, he teams up with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) to exorcise demons. Horror movies are quick to throw out the “inspired by true events” tag, and this is another one for the records. When you watch this, you can’t help but feel that there were a number of liberties taken from the real life story.
Now this is directed by Scott Derrickson, who I like more often than not. I think Sinister is right up there with some of the best horror movies from the past few years, he directed the third best Hellraiser movie, and I don’t think that the Day the Earth Stood Still remake is nearly as bad as everybody makes it out to be. To be sure, this is one of his lesser movies, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that it’s all bad. It’s just not terribly original, and it borrows heavily from many other exorcism movies as well as horror thrillers, right down to the animal jump scares, whether they are real or plushie.
When this starts off, it presents itself to be a story that wouldn’t be out of place in the Se7en universe, with these dark, unusual crimes happening nightly. What keeps you so interested in the beginning is all of the recurring clues that keep popping up; how do all of the dots connect between the lyrics of songs by the Doors, Latin, misbehaving animals and a paint company? I wanted to see more of the mystery revealed, but it keeps falling back on standard horror clichés, so much so that I feel that it undercuts itself. There are effective scenes, and Derrickson knows creepy; regardless of how you feel about the movie overall, you’re going to feel tense in a couple of spots due to the atmosphere. He also makes dialogue sound natural; an element that I thought really worked was Bana dealing with his own, personal demons, and I found myself most engaged when he is disclosing the horrors he sees on a day to day basis. Because there are things in here that work, I kept feeling disappointed to see it fall back on tired tropes that have already been extensively exhausted within the genre. I felt that it earned a better payoff, and overall, it’s a decent horror movie that could have been better.
Deliver Us from Evil (2014) ***
– Critic for Hire