Trying to get one of my friends to accompany me to see The Devil Inside proved rather difficult this week, as message after message came back with a resounding "NO! It's TOO scary!"
Maybe if I hadn't mentioned the screening was taking place at The Round Chapel in Hackney the scare factor might not have seemed as daunting. But as a person who likes to be freaked out to my wits end this was definitely the biggest selling point.
So when it comes to horror movies, my cinematic standards are always lowered. I can forgive a weak script as long as the film can do at least one (or all) of these three things:
a) Make me jump out of my seat a good few times;
b) Has me leaving with a moderate sense of foreboding as I make my way home;
c) Or (best case scenario) instils so much fear that I have to sleep with my light on later that night.
Sadly, The Devil Inside barely manages to achieve one.
Written and directed by William Brent Bell, this documentary-style, found footage film follows a young woman's journey to uncover the supernatural truth behind her mother's murderous past.
In 1989, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) murdered two Catholic priests and a nun whilst they were performing an exorcism on her. After the Church got involved, Maria was transported to a psychiatric facility in Rome. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) flies to Italy with a documentary film-maker to search for answers. There, she meets two rogue priests (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) who after a series of supernatural encounters, help to reveal that her mother is possessed by four powerful demons.
The documentary-style has become a favoured shooting method in the paranormal genre, ever since the likes of The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity series made their low-budget way to the silver screen. And of course, by using an unknown cast, it helps the audience believe in the reality behind the scenes unfolding.
With the close up action filmed on hand-helds and mini cameras affixed to car interiors and around the rooms, you're given a fly-on-the-wall picture of events, that is complemented by the grainy footage and video diary entries; adding a sense of authenticity to the story.
So with the narrative steadily unfolding and the tension building as we begin to witness the disturbing and brutal 'reality' of demonic possession, I felt optimistic that The Devil Inside would deliver the scare factor I was hoping for.
But as I waited and waited and waited and waited...my glass half full became a glass half-empty; eventually confronted with an ending so abruptly disappointing I can only assume some of the "found footage" had been carelessly lost in the edit suite.
With all the online buzz around The Devil Inside, and a first act that had the potential to unleash a frightening assault on the viewer's mind, it was disappointing to find the most disturbing aspect to be an ending more off-putting than a plate of three-month-old devilled eggs.
In cinemas now.
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