I happen to really like up and coming filmmaker Scott Derrickson who seems to really get the horror genre and approaches it from interesting angles. He did this with great success with both THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE (2005) and especially SINISTER (2012), which really got under my skin. 

With DELIVER US FROM EVIL, Derrickson once again gives us a new take on the genre, but unfortunately this time it just only barely manages to entertain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid film, but it never seems to rise above “been there, done that.” 

Based on the real-life cases of New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), DELIVER US FROM EVIL dips into a random case that suddenly becomes a slew of linked incidents that lead to a trio of dishonorably discharged Iraq war vets who might have brought something more than PTSD back from the war. 

Befriending an eccentric Jesuit Priest (Edgar Ramirez), Sarchie’s life is soon turned upside down when things take a supernatural spin. 

Everyone in the cast does a fine job maintaining the films somewhat grounded credibility, but when I go see a horror movie I expect to be scared. Most of the frights are “jump scares” and that’s not horror. I never felt truly in jeopardy for the characters and what’s worse was that it was hard to understand what the “demon” and the cops were actually trying to accomplish. 

The film is handsome to look at, except for one too many scenes with unwarranted low lighting (e.g. Sarchie works in an office at the police station that looks lit by one lightbulb. Why?) 

All and all, DELIVER US FROM EVIL is a worthy attempt with a cool premise, but ultimately it’s one to catch on video or cable.

JULY 2, 2014