“The Devil Inside” Should Probably Have Stayed There

This story originally appeared on our blog, Jan. 7, 2012.

OK, so last night I went to see The Devil Inside.

What a piece of crap.

Considering all the hype, I was expecting this to be a really great retake on the whole exorcism genre. The previews looked great, and the audience “reactions” in the ads seemed convincing enough. I guess they were all strung out on something that made them paranoid, because the scariest thing about this movie was a dog suddenly barking. But, he was on the other side of a fence and the characters just went on with their conversation.

And conversation was in no short supply. This was barely an hour and twenty minutes of people talking?about exorcisms.

Here’s what you get:

  • another “found footage documentary” style horror flick, much like The Blair Witch Project?or Paranormal Activity, but without any originality;
  • a lot of shaky camera work to signify that it’s “real,” coupled with a lot of cuts to surveillance footage that you and I know would never?be made publicly accessible in a murder case;
  • unbelievably obvious plot twists;
  • WAAAAAY too much exposition (my favourite expository vomit: all the explanations necessary to reveal that something technically termed “multiple demonic possession” means that someone is possessed by multiple demons);
  • a disclaimer at the front end of the movie that claims it was not endorsed by the Vatican (good for the Vatican…it proves they have taste);
  • a movie that has no ending.

That last one was a killer too. No ending. It just…stops. Then there’s an ad for their website (I guess that’s one way to a) generate ad traffic, and b) get away with not having to actually resolve your already overburdened plot with a halfway clever twist). Futility can work, and in horror a good unresolved plot can really drive home the terror of a situation. Just look at The Descent, where the main character’s resolution was nothing but a pleasant fantasy. Or the original Dawn of the Dead, where the survivors fly off in a helicopter (with limited fuel), looking out at an endless field of lurching zombies just waiting for them to drop out of the sky.

This move was so bad?that the theatre full of high school kids actually booed. In fact, the douche behind me actually said, “I’m not wasting money on the sequel to this piece of shit.”

If it’s not good enough for their discerning tastes, imagine how I felt!

Note to high school douchebags: I’m sure the girls you’re with think you’re very brave when you say shit like, “I’d just punch her in the face and get the hell out of there.” But we all know that if your psychotic, possibly possessed mother–whom you haven’t seen in over ten years, and who is basically a complete stranger to you–started screaming in your face inside a locked room in a foreign mental institution, you’d shit piss your pants and cry in a corner. So, you know…SHUT THE HELL UP WHEN WE’RE TRYING TO WATCH A MOVIE!!

Listen, the mockumentary style horror film was cool and new with The Blair Witch Project. With Paranormal Activity, it was lame (the sad plot and predictable jump-scares didn’t help…nor did the fact that setting up a video camera in a college couple’s bedroom only revealed that they sleep — BORING). Now, if anyone ever decides to make a similar style film documenting “real events,” they should be stripped of all funding and put in an actual?hospital for the criminally insane with a digital video camera.

At least then the acting would be convincing.

If you want good exorcism movies, go back to the original Exorcist. Nobody’s topped that one yet. More recently, The Exorcism of Emily Rose?was decent. At least they didn’t try to dupe us with a fake shaky camera style…and they set the stage for cool body contortions in demonic possession literature.

Hey, the good news is the bar for 2012’s movies is now as low as it could possibly be. There’s nowhere to go but up, right? And take heart…the new Underworld?comes out later this month. If a gun-weilding, ass-kicking, leather-clad Kate Beckinsale can’t redeem cinema for this year I don’t know what else could.