The Devil Inside (2012)
By: J.R. McNamara on September 4, 2013 | Comments
Paramount | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 80 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: William Brent Bell
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Suzan Crowley
Screenplay: William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman
Country: USA
The Blair Witch Project, a film that I don't hold much value in, has a lot to answer for.

Being the first of its type to get any real mainstream interest, The Blair Witch Project fooled people into believing it was the real deal. I didn't see it on its original theatrical release, and so by the time I did see it, any emotional weight it may have carried by being 'real' was lost as the conjurer's tricks had been revealed. To me it was like watching the worst home made movie with a dumb/weird ending. Seriously, if it were made for more than $9.95 (the price of a three pack of video tapes), I'd be surprised!

Tragically many people loved it, and so now a shaky cam film is released almost every other month, from the Paranormal Activity films to the [REC]s. Sure, some of them are OK, but isn't there a union for cameramen wanting to get cameras out of the hands of actors?

The Devil Inside tells of documentarian Michael Schaeffer (Ionut Grama) who is following Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) in the pursuit of her mother Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), an apparent victim of possession who killed several people and has been committed to an asylum ever since. The documentary takes them to Rome, where her mother is being held, and through the course of learning about demonic possession they meet two young priests, passionate rat-faced Father Ben Rawlings (Simon Quarterman) and tubby weakling Father David Keane (Evan Helmuth). The priests hold 'rebel' exorcisms that aren't entirely sanctioned by the Vatican, and when they decide to take the girl's mother's case, well of course, bad things start to happen…

There are some great ideas in this film, and if it were shot as a straight film instead of like a bad first person shooter on the Xbox (mmm… metal note: invent either Battlepriest 3 or Call of Duty: White Collar Ops) it actually might have been reasonably good. There are many solid ideas that I would have found much more entertaining if the filmmakers weren't trying to pass them off as the real deal.

In addition to my much loathed shaky-cam, what also diminishes this movie is that it resorts to the Paranormal Activity audio effect - you know, that low bass hum that makes you 'feel' the tension rather than 'hear' it. The low noise causes an anxiety reaction which can be done without the image as the body reacts to it on a subconscious level. It's cinema trickery that a film shouldn't have to resort to completely if the script, acting and direction are good enough.

Horror films are supposed to produce some sort of emotional reaction from the viewer, and if that is the case, this film is a gargantuan fail. I could barely maintain any interest in any of the characters, so I didn't care if they lived or died, and therefore the scare level settled at the point of zero for the entire movie. The director obviously knew this, which is why the aforementioned low hum is present.

That's not to say the performances are bad, as they aren't. Fernanda Andrade plays the victim of her circumstances quite subtly, and Suzan Crowley plays the victim of possession with a level of gusto that borders of scary, which is what one expects from a horror film! The three male leads play annoying cameraman (usual in this sort of film), know it all, and wussbag by the numbers and don't really carry any more emotional weight than a blank piece of photocopy paper.

Honestly, I must be some kind of idiot as I continue to return to the shaky-cam films hoping for a respectable effort, but I am barely, or never, satisfied. The Devil Inside wasted my time by offering nothing new in any way, shape or form.
The Disc
The sound, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and the image, presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, are exactly what you would expect for a recent film on a digital format released in this day and age: pretty darn good and clear of any artefact damage, even over and above the intentional 'shot on tape' look. As far as extras are concerned though, you'll be disappointed with this fairly vanilla disc, but in an attempt to create a more realistic multimedia presentation, the end of the film directs viewers to a website which has further interview footage with the characters and offers further insight into the possession. Whilst I admire the chutzpah for presenting extras in such a way, I actually don't like it as I find having to leave a disc for further information to be a bit weak, especially when there is plenty of room left on a disc that contains a 71 odd minute movie.
The Verdict
The short of it is, it's a possession film that really has nothing in it that you haven't seen before. It's also shot in a way that you have seen many times before, and it's the sort of movie you were bored with by the time the 90s ended.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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