Exorcise craze

Rated 3.0

The Devil InsideCinemark 14 and Feather River Cinemas. Rated R.

by Craig Blamer

Seems like a lot of folks are howling about how gawdawful The Devil Inside is. Now, I’m not gonna say that this latest found-footage horror entry is a misunderstood gem, because it’s not. But as these things go, it definitely isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. As an exorcism movie, it’s average but efficient. As a found-footage movie, it’s competent but hobbled by the inherent restrictions of the genre. It is what it is.

Here we’re given the basic setup through news footage of the aftermath of an exorcism gone horribly wrong. Two priests and a nun are discovered butchered in a ratty suburban home, with their patient brooding in a crawlspace. Presumed to be the murderer, she is declared insane by the courts, repossessed by The Vatican and swept off to Rome for further trials.

Years later, her daughter and a documentarian fly in to visit the Vatican’s exorcism school to get some more details. They hook up with a pair of rogue exorcists and spend the rest of the short running time of the movie talking to the camera and documenting a couple of exorcisms. And then the movie ends abruptly.

Which apparently is the source of the outrage. Which in itself is kind of silly. By now, one should know walking into a found-footage movie that an abrupt, inconclusive ending is part of the package. The ending here is pretty much the same ending as the first Paranormal Activity movie. Although the studio’s inclusion of a title card (inviting viewers to visit a website for more details) at the start of the credit roll admittedly adds salt to the wound.

But everything is competent, from the acting on down to the editing. It even manages to pull off a couple of decent scares and some creepy exorcism gags. And, personally, I gotta hand it to a $1 million movie that covers the same ground as—and does it better than—The Rite at $37 million (which is close to what The Devil Inside pulled in on opening weekend). Looks like the found-footage genre just got another bump.