"Also, I read that review you posted. I'm not usually one to critique other people's reviews, but yours frankly came off more like a long-winded rant than an examination of the faults and merits of the movie."
I felt so dirty reviewing a good movie last time. Ugh, if I keep doing that, I'll end up acting slightly professional, and that'd mean not being a Nostalgia Critic ripoff. Fuck that noise.
So what do we have hear? Ah, yes, The Devil Inside. The movie made on $1 million that made $100 million. Of course, with that huge profit came a 77% drop in ticket sales when all the people who saw it told their friends how it ended. Oh, Jeebus, the ending.
Never mind that for now, though.
So we start off with a super awkward cold opening of a 911 call. Maria Rossi tells an operator she just killed 3 people, and suddenly hangs up. Spooky stuff. Or at least it would be if she didn't sound like just a confused old lady.
This all follows a series of 3spooky5u disclaimers like "THE VATICAN NEVER APPROVED THIS MOVIE BUT FUCK THEM, RIGHT" because it was on the producer's checklist while making Found Footage Movie #672.
A team of investigators record themselves going into the house and taking notes. This is the 90s, of course, and to show that in the most professional way possible, the director shot it like any other scene and added on a shitty Premiere effect afterward. That this movie cost as much as Super with this level of bad production value astounds me.
They walk around for 2 minutes at a crime scene reminiscent of one of those crash simulations high schools put on to keep students from driving drunk until things become silent and a thing pops up and makes a loud noise. Yes, brothers, it's one of those.
We get a series of interviews with doctors and ORDAINED EXORCISTS (take note). This is shot in a documentary style, which totally clashes with the rest of the movie's "found footage" vibe. Because REALISM.
In present day, our starlet, Isabella Rossi, is out to find out why her mother turned into a murderous psychopath during an exorcism. She sets out with a filmmaker, Michael, to document these findings for-you know what, I could say "for reasons", but let's not even try to put a joking light on how stupid movies like this are.
Isabella just WALKS INTO an underground exorcism class at the Vatican 7 minutes in during a lecture. Keep in mind, they have stated over and over that the Vatican denies any accusations of condoned exorcisms in their churches, and this bitch just walks in with a cameraman and they don't even give a second look before letting them in.
During the class, the lecturer plays a video of a possibly possessed lady. I say "possibly", but the video shows her muttering profanities at the camera before doing that thing modern horror monsters do where they basically teleport at the camera to show that they're FUCKIN' DEMONS BRO. If that footage were shown in real life, it would change the way the world saw the supernatural, but in this world the lecturer pauses the video and says, I shit you not, "Okay, anyone, any thoughts?"
"UH, YES FATHER, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT BULLSHIT?! DID THAT GIRL JUST TELEPORT AT THE CUNTING CAMERA?! FUCK THIS, I GIVE UP."
Izzykins goes to the bar with some of the exorcists afterwards where one of them asks the almighty question: "Why are you doing this documentary?" Her answer: talking about her mother's murders and completely ignoring the question. Because even the people in the movie can't figure out a good reason for making this movie.
We get an black inter-title with the date because...I don't know. Again, it makes sense with the found footage angle, but not with the documentary angle.
Michael sets up a series of cameras in Isabella's car because apparently he read the script and knows that important stuff's going to happen in it.
Isabella goes to the mental hospital her mother is being held in, where the doctors show her hilarious footage of her mother banging her head on a brick wall. After the audience stops laughing at this, they shove her and Michael right in there because, really, with a violently unstable women, what's the worst that could happen?
Oh wait, the doctor tells her that Maria "probably won't even recognize her anyway." Words of true encouragement, Doc.
We get 4 minutes of overacting and just complete fucking dead air before they make their big surprise scare: Maria looking at Isabella and screaming like a little girl. Wow. Real fucking creative.
So, it's come time in my review for me to wave my big A/V nerd knob in your face. It's a general rule of thumb in movies that if you want a scene to be tense, you can accomplish that through unsteady camera motion and a number of different cuts and angles.
This isn't just a modern thing, action scenes for decades have used frantic editing and angles to convey excitement. Combined with some of the emotional music I talked about in my Snowdrop review, this can make almost damn near anything exciting.
In The Devil Inside, however, every tense scene is shot in 3 angles at most. This scene in particular has Michael standing with the camera in the corner and one stationed at a flat angle behind Isabella. Combine these minimal flat angles with zed music, and you get one of the most awkward "tense scenes" to have ever defiled my eyes.
I laughed numerous times, not out of it being all that unintentionally funny, but in the way in which I would laugh at a guy going up to the register and asking for the Pinkie Pie toy at McDonald's. It's just the laziest film-making.
Isa-taco-bella meets up with 2 of the priests from the class, Thom Yorke and Private Pyle-NO WAIT I MEAN Ben and David.
At their house, our heroine discovers that the 2 have been taking on cases deemed just mentally unstable by the Vatican due to the Vatican being overly strict in the regulations of what warrants an exorcism. Mind you, these two are doing something that can get them excommunicated on camera in a documentary to be shown to the public. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. They're basically throwing away their jobs just by showing up.
Before they agree to take a look at Isabella's mom, they tell her that she must learn more about exorcisms, and that the only feasible way to do this is by witnessing one herself. What that really means is that the script writer noticed how far he had written into the story without something actiony going on and made a rushed reason for an exorcism to happen.
They go to one of their underground case's home, but not before the most laughable, bullshit jumpscare gets pulled out. As they're walking there, a dog just jumps at the top of a fence and gives deafeningly loud barks as they walk on by. Seriously. If there is one reason to watch this movie, it is to skip to that scene and ponder at the thought process the writer had when he typed that out.
mane main 4 protagonists walk into the house, where the mother of the possessed ignores the camera completely and shockingly says to Ben: "We had to move her to the basement..."
Okay? The audience didn't even know where this girl was before, but the film acts like them moving this girl to the basement is on the same level of 9/11 or something.
So, our heroes (who don't have characters at all, so I struggle to call them that) go down into the most stereotypically creepy basement ever and find their client playing a hardcore game of Twister. She tragically loses when the wheel says "left hand on red", so the priests tell her "good game" and begin their exorcism.
For some reason, the cameras monitoring this horrifically unscary sequence are all labeled. Hey, assholes! Do you know how to figure out which camera is the pupil cam when you're looking at the footage later? I'll give you a hint: it's the one pointed at the girl's pupil! Now you fucking know!
As for the exorcism itself, the only part that had me interested was where the overhead camera got sprayed with period blood. That sounds interesting in a sort of Sam Raimi way, but believe me, it's the outlier to this bland scene. The rest is your standard checklist exorcism: she spouts profanities that anyone accustomed to Xbox Live is unfazed by, she breaks free at some point, they hold her down and finally she's cured.
So how do we follow up a scene like that? Why, just hard cut to the filmmaker saying "Woah, dude...that was totally bogus..." in some weird Real World confession booth scene. Sigh.
Banana-phella-po-pella-a-izzy-Isabella immediately wants to do some of that radical shit on her mother, but suddenly David freaks out at the possibility of the Vatican finding them out during her exorcism.
A LITTLE LATE, DON'T YOU THINK?
I mean, everything these guys have done since they showed up would put them in hot water if shown to the public (which, again, in the reality of the movie, it will). NOW, he starts thinking about the possibility of being excommunicated?
So, after whining and bitching for a while to give the illusion that these are characters and that they're making decisions that affect the story in any way, the crew heads out to the hospital, and the doctors let two priests and a cameraman lock themselves into a room with a psychotic madwomen. I sure hope I never get admitted into a hospital with this level of security. I'd wake up from a decade-long coma to discover my body had become a graffiti wall to draw dicks on.
They start doing their examinations, and she replies fine to all of them, but just as you think they're going to say "I guess she wasn't possessed after all" and release you from your pain, Maria starts screaming like a 5 year old again. She starts convulsing and throwing shit around for a while before the doctors start knocking on the door demanding to be let inside. Eventually they give up, she calms down, and the doctors act pissed as if there was no way to predict what Isabella was planning on doing with 2 priests and a cameraman.
Afterwards, Ben and David go on and on about releasing the footage to the Vatican to prove that the women is possessed even after they've already clarified earlier that the Vatican would possibly excommunicate anyone who performed an exorcism without their say so, evidence or no evidence.
Isabella and Michael suddenly start butting heads for no reason other than DRAMA and CHARACTERIZATION even though the writer obviously has no understanding of either concept.
David, meanwhile, starts slurring his speech, eating sandwiches in pitch black rooms, and talking about how unbaptized babies go to hell. Take a wild guess where that's going.
At a standard baptism (which Michael films for no reason), David holds a baby underwater and nearly kills it. He then rushes off back to the house, where the rest of the crew finds him with his arms cut open. He starts teleporting around the place like Sleder Man, and after a stand off with the (always on time) police, he recites the Lord's Prayer and shoots himself before he can remember the last line.
I just want to point out something here: when the gang walks in on the scene, they find a board covered in Bible pages in his room. Isabella actually says out loud: "ARE THOSE BIBLE PAGES?" 2 minutes later, they're covered in not-Private Pyle's brains. So, yeah, great job director. You had one chance to do a cool visual, and you couldn't resist not showing the audience how clever you are.
Out of nowhere, Isabella starts having a seizure. As Ben and Michael rush to the ER, Ben conveniently remembers that demons can transfer from body to body, and that Isabella's most likely going to go full apeshit. This would've been good information to have before your friend did target practice at his own head, but whatevs.
They arrive at the hospital, and Isabella indeed goes full apeshit. She gores one of the nurses working on her, and Ben and Michael restrain her. They tell a nurse that Ben is a priest and that she should go help the others, AND SHE LETS THEM TAKE HER AWAY. Is this movie set in some parallel universe where hospitals run on the honor system?
Finally, it's time for the big dumb ending to end all big dumb endings. Michael rushes...somewhere to get an exorcism done with Isabella yelling at Ben in the back. Michael gets possessed while he's driving somehow, unbuckles his seatbelt, and crashes while drifting in the wrong lane. Cut to black.
"THIS CASE WAS NEVER SOLVED.
VISIT WWW.THEROSSIFILES.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION."
You can't make this shit up, folks. That's really how the movie ends. No climax, no closure. Just "please go to www.fuckoffaudience.com for more fake investigation bullshit".
This movie got boo'd across the nation. Word of mouth killed any long-term box office standings, but with a huge opening weekend, the damage was done.
The Devil Inside has no redeeming qualities. It's not entertaining on any level, its very existence is one of a cynical cash grab released in the middle of January (a dumping ground for shit like this), the actors are both phoning it in and overacting...somehow, the script is lazy, the horror has been not only done before, but done better numerous times, and the editing is awkward and full of just fucking dead air. I can't even recommend this movie to the dumbass Paranormal Activity crowd, as even the jump scares are sparse and at the very cheapest standard possible.
In the end, The Devil Inside exorcised my joy and possessed me to burn down every copy of it I could find. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find this shitfest's writer and make him the alter boy to my Catholic priest.