Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Crime | Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Scott Derrickson
  • Cast: Olivia Munn, Eric Bana, Joel McHale, Édgar Ramírez


In Deliver Us from Evil, New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Based upon the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.


  • A lot of horror movies out there don’t have the actual horror to scare someone. But this movie has the true scary things in it! From jack-in-the-boxes to a frightening exorcism, this movie will have you covering your face in fear. Many parts in the movie that have complete silence make the movie even scarier! Not as many pop-ups as I wanted but definitely enough to enjoy and not sleep for a week or so. Obviously, a movie this good is expected from the person(s) who brought you Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Scott Derrickson (director and screenplay writer) is a true horror genius! Eric Bana will make you feel like you are actually him going through the horror that he is going through during his police work with Joel McHale.
    Overall, “Deliver Us From Evil” held me in my seat in anticipation waiting to see what will happen next, so I guess it means that it was worth seeing…

  • Sarchie : I’ve met a lot of priests. You don’t seem the type.
    Mendoza : And I’ve known a lot of cops, and you’re exactly the type.

    The most common topic in the horror genre is exorcism and everything that has to do with possessions. I admit that this is the closest match to everyday life because everyone has something he’s excited and passionate about. It’s like he or she is possessed by it. There are also individuals who must fight their personal demons every day. It’s obviously not quite the same as the case detective Sarchie is confronted with. I’m obsessed about watching movies and sometimes I consider my job as a real demon that needs an exorcism. But rather that, than the entity that rages in “Deliver us from Evil”. It’s not an original film and certainly not groundbreaking, but I’ve seen worse creations the past year.

    Personally I never came into contact with someone or something possessed by a demon and I don’t understand why a normal person in such circumstances stays calm and tries to look at it rationally. I would surely run away and disappear without a trace. It seems like nothing or no one is immune to getting possessed, because I’ve already seen a whole collection passing by that evil took possession of : a church, a doll, the claw of a monkey, a Jewish casket, houses and innocent teenage girls. In “Deliver us from evil” for once it’s an adult male who’s the victim of an evil demon. Just as in “The Exorcist”, where Father Merrin finds a statuette in Iraq as an archaeologist (which in turn causes a lot of misery), evil also originated out of Iraq. Some American soldiers end up in a kind of crypt which subsequently also causes all kinds of misery. Apparently the Middle East isn’t only the main supplier of oil, but also a repository of all sorts of supernatural scum.

    Nowadays horrors tend to be based on true facts and stories. This film also follows this tradition and is based on a book written by Ralph Sarchie ten years ago, in which he describes his experiences with paranormal situations. The film is not 100 procent the same as the book. Certain passages were used by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Devil’s Knot) and Paul Haris Boardman (Hellraiser: Inferno, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Devil’s Knot). Taking into account that also the production was in hands of the “Jerry Bruckheimer Films” production company, which is responsible for some well known movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Deja Vu, Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor, you’d expect an extraordinary movie.

    Those who watch a horror only occasionally, will have a pleasant and scary evening. For the tender-hearted among us, it will be a nerve excruciatingly, exciting film. Seasoned horror film lovers will get a “Well, haven’t we seen that before” feeling. In terms of creating the right atmosphere they did a fine job. The entire film is immersed in a dark and oppressive setting in dreary New York City, more specifically the Bronx, and you get the impression that it’s Sodom of America. A sinister, eerie scenery where Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his partner Butler (Joel McHale) face the pernicious that manifests itself in man. The dark alleys full of filth, the slums with dilapidated buildings and shabby accommodation, and the human suffering they encounter there. The body of a dead baby in a dumpster, domestic violence, murder, suicide and violence. Every day they are confronted with this. Until a nightly intervention concerning domestic violence leads to more obscure and sinister cases with an evil entity that’s responsible. Expect the necessary cliches: a crucified cat, the well known scare effects, some gore moments (including the ever-present meat maggots), the self-playing piano, once again it’s raining practically all the time, a foam-spitting confused woman who speaks gibberish in a foreign language and a traditional exorcism ritual that goes through all stages. And obviously mostly it takes place in the dark….

    It’s no suprise that “Deliver us from Evil” couldn’t outperform the classic “The Exorcist”. And mixing up a horror with an ordinary police thriller isn’t a mind-blowing idea. Yet I found the duo Sarchie and Butler a successful formula. Sarchie is more of a coolheaded and fearless type who’s gifted with the ability to detect mischief, while Butler takes care of the comic part. A bon vivant who eagerly uses sarcastic and cynical comments (humming the “The Adams Family” theme was pretty funny). It’s not exactly brilliant acting that’ll get them an Oscar, but it wasn’t annoying bad either. I only felt that Bana, as a non-believer who renounces everything that has to do with religion since years, surrendered very quickly. Also Olivia Munn as Sarchie’s pregnant wife, couldn’t escape the cliché and appeared again as another neglected wife of a hardworking New York police officer. Personally I found the roles played by Olivia Horton and Sean Harris as respectively Jane and Santino , were the most imaginative. The moment Jane comes crawling out of the dark, drenched by blood with a bunch of keys between her lips, yields an image that can compete with some of “The Exorcist”. They both look demonic, fearless and destructive. But surely Edgar Ramirez excelled the most as the modern priest Mendoza, who himself had a self-destructive past and who throws himself fully in a fight against the demonic evil.

    “Se7en” was a masterpiece in the police thriller genre. Also dark, hallucinatory and unnerving exciting. But Satan didn’t perform in it. Not literally anyway. “The Exorcist” was an unmatchable milestone in which exorcism played a key role. But here wasn’t a detective involved. One would think that the mixing of two masterpieces would provide a unique film. Apparently not. “Deliver us from evil” manages to fail in both categories. It seems like a constant battle between the two genres. The end result is that it doesn’t know which way to go. It’s not bad, it’s grim and horrible at the same time, but ultimately it’s also not that impressive !

  • Deliver Us from Evil is yet another horror film that’s based on a true story (aren’t they all). And if you pay really close attention to a couple of scenes, you’ll notice that its star Eric Bana, looks a lot like Jason Miller’s character from 1973’s classic, The Exorcist (mainly when his face falls into a dark shadow). A subtle nod perhaps? Maybe. But what’s the point? There have been at least twenty plus exorcism movies to venture into theaters since Linda Blair spewed green pea soup all over Max Von Sydow’s light rimmed glasses. Basically “Deliver” is just another one in that stylistic, empty assembly line. What starts off promisingly as a campy mixture of cops and robbers and demons and such, becomes uneven while eventually running out of steam. Oh and I almost forgot, it’s not really scary despite some grotesque images (a slaughtered cat nailed to a crucifix not to mention a man with flies coming out of his eyes, how lovely) and a few standardized jolts. No my drive home after the screening by which I almost hit a deer, now that’s scary.

    With a blink or you’ll miss it moment referencing Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, two zooming shots that might make William Friedkin proud, and video monitoring scenes that had me conjuring up images from John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, Deliver Us from Evil begins with a desert war sequence in Iraq. Three soldiers go into an underground cavern and detect an evil presence in the form of bats. Three years later they come home from the war only to find themselves crazily possessed in modern day Brooklyn, New York. For reasons unknown, they pass the evil residue on to their wives and other loved ones. And it’s up to a gruff, no-nonsense cop named Ralph Sarchie (played with a strained, forced NY accent by AWOL actor Eric Bana) to save the day. He is aided by his partner Butler (played by an unrecognizable Joel McHale who provides some comic relief in spades) and a Spanish priest named Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez from 2005’s Domino). As things progress, Sarchie because of his amazing hunches as a ranking officer, attains the gift of seeing and hearing things that no one else is capable of. That leads him to confront a demonic entity that looks to attack his wife and child.

    “Deliver” is goofy, confusing, and generally fast paced. At times it can make you cringe one minute while laughing the next. But with a ton of build up concluding with an all too familiar exorcism (in a padded, police interrogation room of all places), this film is only worthy as a rental to go along with five leftover slices of pizza and a six pack. The lowest point: The dialogue containing exchanges so inept and trite, they could have been written on napkins. And finally, there’s something that lingered with me as I viewed this sloshy hour and 58 minutes of running time. I was constantly reminded of the 1990 Lou Diamond Phillips vehicle entitled The First Power. It surely wasn’t a masterpiece but at least it had the generosity of telling a straight story as opposed to this mess. “Deliver” simply jumps from one scene to another without warning. Disjointed and garbled? Oh you betcha.

    Overall, Deliver Us from Evil throws at us a lot of subplots about demonic possession, the occult, and mind numbing references to the music of The Doors (I love The Doors just as much as anyone else but this became laughable, tired, and annoying really quick). If anything, it suffers from having too many ideas in roughly two hours. Because the filmmakers can’t tie all these ideas together, well the result is to tack on a quick, tidy ending making your inevitable theater exit unsatisfying. Director Scott Derrickson I guess, seems awfully bent on making a lot more movies about quote unquote, “the evil that men do”. Let’s hope he finds his footing and “delivers” something better the next time around.

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