A horror movie with big name stars used to be a rare thing, most higher profile actors seemed to think the horror genre was beneath them and so there was a stable of ‘horror actors’ willing to get their hands dirty so to speak.. that does not seem to be the case anymore. Just this year we had Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne in Insidious 2, and Vera Farmigia and Lili Taylor in The Conjuring.
Deliver Us From Evil stars Eric Bana (not an A-lister but a pretty big name, particularly in my country of Australia where he originated) and Joel McHale, an actor who’s face you know from..somewhere.. (I’ll give you a hint – The Soup and Community just to name two) who gives a star-making turn here.
DUFE is a horror film with a twist I havent seen done as well since 1990’s First Power – it combines police crime drama with horror and effectively honours both genres.
This is the story of over-worked New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana) with his own troubled past, investigating a series of bizarre crimes that are somehow related to an unconventional priest.
The tale unfolds like a typical police procedural with Sarchie’s wise-cracking action-seeking partner, Butler (McHale – hilariously likeable) a pregnant in-danger wife, and the information trickling in for you to piece together at your leisure.
When the horror element kicks in it blends seamlessly with the existing framework, not an easy feat and one for which director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Excorcism of Emily Rose) should be commended.
This film also features a smoking cool soundtrack with The Doors snake-like, creepy music haunting the edges of this atmospheric movie.
Its well acted, nicely directed, intriguing and a nice, confident strike in respectable horror, the kind people don’t mind telling others they enjoyed.
The issue is that its really not that scary. The opening title card declared this as based on a true story and apparently this is correct as it is based on a book the real Sarchie authored; but being true does not always mean the horror translates to the screen and apart from a few gross-out moments (twisted jumper and neck extension guy – eek) and a few jumpy scenes that feel a bit cheap to me anyway, this doesn’t really bode well for sleepless nights.
Derrickson’s horror pedigree is impressive – Sinister was wildly original and very creepy, Emily Rose is one of the scariest films ever made, but this, while a very good film and one I recommend, does not stand up to those comparisons.
Nevermind, with The Doors ‘Riders on the Storm’ echoing through my mind as I write this, I’m not complaining..