During the summer I had some computer problems so I was unable to review some of the more low-key film releases of the season. One of these releases was the horror film, Deliver Us From Evil, which was released during the Fourth of July holiday and struggled at the box office. Deliver Us From Evil is far from a good film. It is in fact a big mess, and while the individual components of this film struggle to work together, the individual components themselves are quite interesting. Deliver Us From Evil doesn’t really work but it is an interesting and, at times, entertaining failure.
Deliver Us From Evil is one of those “based off of a true story” horror films that Hollywood seriously needs to stop producing. However, with a dark atmosphere that seems more in line with the first season of True Detective than recent horror films and an ability to turn to comedy at any moment (there’s a beat of comedy that oddly comes during a key exorcism scene that was quite funny and Joel McHale has a substantial supporting role that brings some much needed levity to the film) this film at least seems unique from the horror films of its ilk. Therein lies one of the big problems with the film. The many genres that this film taps into are all done really well individually, but they very rarely work together effectively. So while certain scenes in this film work really well, they rarely fit in with the scene before or after it.
It was also odd to see so many prestigious or well-known actors show up in a film like this. It was certainly a welcome surprise, and they improved the material quite a bit. Eric Bana makes for a great lead as he makes you care about a character that easily could have come across as the cheesy lead of so many other horror films. The same could be said for Edgar Ramirez, who plays the stereotypical sorcerer-like character that is brought in to fight the evil entity of any horror film. As already mentioned, Joel McHale is a nice change of scenery, and even Olivia Munn is trying her hardest in a role that is terribly written. While most of the villains of the film are oddly wasted in plotlines that lead nowhere, they too are performed with the appropriate amount of creepiness.
Deliver Us From Evil suffers from trying to be too many things at once.