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Blu-ray Review: Deliver Us From Evil
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Deliver Us from Evil movie review

Deliver Us from Evil
Blu-ray l DVD
Director: Scott Derrickson
Screenwriter: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman
Cast: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Rated R | 118 Minutes
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister), Deliver Us from Evil stars Eric Bana as Ralph Sarchie, a New York police detective who investigates a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. To combat a demonic entity that is terrorizing the Bronx, Sarchie joins forces with an unconventional priest (Édgar Ramírez) who is well-versed in the rituals of exorcism.

Written by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, Deliver Us from Evil is based upon Beware the Night, a 2001 non-fiction book by Sarchie and co-writer Lisa Collier Cool that chronicles the retired NYPD sergeant’s encounters with the supernatural. The film is an amalgam of Derrickson’s previous work, blending the true crime elements of Sinister with The Exorcism of Emily Rose‘s exploration of demonic possession.

When Derrickson’s Emily Rose hit theaters in 2005, it reinvigorated the religious horror subgenre. For the past decade now, we’ve experienced a glut of possession/exorcism flicks – Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside, The Rite, The Possession, The Last Exorcism, The Devil’s Due – the list goes on forever.

Most of these films are just watered-down versions of The Exoricst, but Deliver Us from Evil feels more like an old-school cop thriller than a horror film – in the same way Emily Rose was more of a courtroom drama than a split pea soup-spewing genre picture. If anything, Derrickson’s latest is a distant cousin of The Exorcist III, William Peter Blatty’s 1990 film about a policeman who investigates a series of murders with a satanic motive behind them.

What makes Deliver Us from Evil different, however, is the dynamic between Bana and Ramírez, who elevate the somewhat generic narrative with some interesting conversations about guilt, faith, and the very nature of good and evil. Derrickson’s understanding of mood and atmosphere makes Deliver Us from Evil an impenetrably dark film at times; inky and slick with rain. Derrickson and cinematographer Scott Kevan paint the Bronx as a gutter overflowing with filth, where policemen find dead babies in dumpsters and mothers feed their children to the lions.

As for this Blu-ray + Digital HD release, the audio/video presentation is incredible. This is a reference quality horror film from Sony, with excellent colors and perfect black levels. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is every bit as impressive as the 1080p video transfer. If you dig Derrickson’s work or the religious/demonic possession subgenre, then you’ll find a lot to appreciate with Deliver Us from Evil, but if you’re expecting a game-changer that completely redefines the genre, you may need to look elsewhere.

Personally, I would really like to see this become a series, with Bana and Ramírez teaming up to take on all kinds of weird, unexplainable cases. In Sarchie’s novel, there’s mention of cases involving an incubus, the vengeful spirit of a murdered nineteenth-century bride, and a couple of neighbors who were literally from hell. That’s pretty compelling material for a horror franchise, is it not?

Blu-ray Special Features

* Audio Commentary with Director Scott Derrickson

* Deliver Us From Demons: This featurette focuses on Sean Harris’ Santino and the makeup effects that were required to bring the character to life.

* The Two Sergeants: Derrickson talks about creating a film that captured Sarchie’s personal experiences rather than a straight adaptation of his novel.

*The Demon Detective: The real Ralph Sarchie sits down in front of the camera to discuss his work as a demonologist.

*Illuminating Evil: Making Deliver Us From Evil: A 14-minute featurette where we learn about the real-life story behind the film, including an interview with Ralph Sarchie.

Trailer

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