[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8679[/img]Title: The Devil Inside
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley
Directed by: William Brent Bell
Written by: William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman
Runtime: 83 min
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 15, 2012
HTS Overall Score: 59
In 1989 the South Hartford P.D. received a 911 call from Maria Rossi (Crowley) indicating she killed three
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8681[/img]people. When homicide investigators and police officers arrive they discover a pretty grizzly scene of bloodied objects used as weapons to brutally kill three clergy members strewn throughout the home. Maria is shortly found in the home’s crawlspace. Two years later she is put on trial for the deaths, but the jury find her not guilty by reason of insanity and she is committed to the South Hartford State Asylum. Maria’s stay at the asylum is short lived and in September of the same year she is transferred to the Centrino Medical Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Rome, Italy. Isabella Rossi (Andrade), Maria’s only child, was very young at the time and never questioned what happened. Now 25 years old Isabella finds out through her father (deceased at the time of the film) that her mother killed those people during an exorcism, an exorcism being performed on her. This revelation spurs Isabella into hiring a cameraman, Michael Schaefer (Grama) for the purpose of video documenting her planned trip to Rome, specifically the hospital where her mother is being kept. Isabella’s reason for wanting to turn this quest into a public documentary rather than keep it a private matter is vague and pretty open ended… pretty aggravating considering it’s a pretty big deal.
Now in Rome with Michael filming, Maria travels to the hospital where her mother has been for locked
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8680[/img]away. After a quick chat with chief of staff Dr. Antonio Costa, Isabella is given some private time with her mother, but is warned that the meet may not be what she expects because of the heavy doses of medication forced upon her to prevent violent outbreaks. The influence of the drugs initially makes for an uneventful interaction, but soon the inaudible babble and Maria's strange mood swings turn to shrieking and an end to the reunion. The actual outburst isn’t all that scary and original, but it’s the expectation that something frightening is about to happen that builds tension and puts you in a state of uneasiness. This is where a lot of a movie’s success can come from, and in The Devil Inside there are a few of these moments.
Following the undesirable meeting with her mother, Isabella befriends two priests, Fr. David Keane
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8678[/img](Helmuth), M.D. and Fr. Ben Rawlings Quarterman), both familiar with the world of exorcisms who agree to review the current footage of her mother. According to Rawlings the four factors in determining demonic possession are: unnatural strength, aversion to holy objects, languages or events that the person could not have known, and preternatural movement (objects moving around the room). The priests cannot come to a consensus concerning Maria’s state; mentally ill or actually possessed by a demon, regardless they expose Isabella and Michael to their world as rogue exorcists. Why they choose to divulge this information to basically a stranger and even worse a man with a camera filming seems illogical. They are performing these exorcisms without the church’s permission. With exorcisms being controversial and delicate subject matter you would think they would keep their actions private in order to continue to, as they believe, relieve people of their suffering. Keane and Rawlings don’t just stop at discussing the people who the church has turned down for an exorcism and showing Isabella the scientific equipment they use during an exorcism, they SHOW HER ONE! They feel Isabella will learn more helping her mother by witnessing an exorcism for five minutes than by spending three months in a classroom.
Despite having gained (rather easily) entry into the world of exorcisms, Isabella’s overall goal of The Diocese of Rome allowing her mother to be re-evaluated is denied on account they believe it will disrupt her wellbeing. No worry though, Isabella asks Dr. Costa for privacy time on behalf of her mother so under the guise of merely going in to study her, Keane and Rawlings can really go in to determine if she is possessed. The results of the evaluation garner some favourable proof or evidence, but more intriguingly a sub-plot hinting at demonic transference starts to develop. This isn’t the first time a sub-plot is hinted at, but unfortunately it fizzes away. The demonic transference angle strays away from the main narrative and unfortunately it keeps going; nowhere that is.
Relying on a simple easy to follow script, the actors do an average job portraying their characters.
R for disturbing violent content and grisly images, and for language including some sexual references.
The Devil Inside is presented as a low-budget, fake handheld camera documentary, but is
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8683[/img]delivered as a combination of “found footage”, documentary-style filmmaking, and segments from stationary cameras. Despite being low-budget the film is well lit, there is a surprisingly small amount of graininess in normal lighting, faces are detailed, black levels are balanced and black contrast is more than adequate. The picture does get a bit bland and washed out when characters enter dark areas because only overhead bulbs illuminate the rooms.
What leaves you scratching your head is why the view periodically switches over from the lens of the camera the cameraman is holding to the view of an overhead stationary camera? The recordings from those cameras should only be seen as playback on a laptop while the characters study the video footage.
Ambient sounds (doors opening, footsteps, handheld camera related sounds) vary from pretty quiet to
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8682[/img]distinct, but never prevalent. Typically enveloping street noise is usually allocated to the front speakers and there is no music or score because this is supposed to be a documentary. You don’t get much in the audio department here because of the genre of film, but the sound editors could have tweaked the sound just a little bit to prevent from having to really turn up the volume to get any sort of experience.
The Devil Inside doesn’t leave much of an impact in the scare department. The exorcism scenes are pretty standard, involving people screaming, screeching, cursing, and contorting their bodies to almost near impossible positions; the shoulder popping and back bending are actually pretty impressive. Suspense is built before something happens, before the jump-scare scenes. These scenes are the most successful and in a way entertaining because they put you in an unstable position.
The Devil Inside unfortunately doesn’t add anything new to the exorcism genre and the ending will cause most people to become pretty mad and yell at their TV, but it isn’t nearly as bad as the internet claims. If it wasn’t for the ending, I’d recommend this film.
Watch the Official Trailer
Watch the Official Trailer