Breaking News
Saturday, March 3, 2012

Info Post

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 3 March 2012, retrieved from

Cast: Suzan Crowley, Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
Director: William Brent Bell
Rating: 0 stars
See, I’m terrified of horror films – even the cheesy Indian ones where a fat, unkempt extra would bare her teeth at the camera, screech out a belly laugh, and tear about in a white sari. They’re the only genre of film I don’t prefer to watch alone. But The Devil Inside had me at the trailer:
“If you really want to help your mother, you need a better understanding of exorcism.”
“What do you suggest?”
“You need to see a real one.”
You know a film that showcases those lines has to give you more laughs than scares. Plus, the nun with the freaky eyes on the poster issuch a draw. The film has everything – found footage, profanity, a contortionist, polyglots, nursery rhymes, a profusion of religious talismans (or is it talismen?) that are never handy when they’re needed, anti-abortion activism, a baptism gone wrong, and a deluded director. You think the whole based-on-a-true-story device is a gimmick, but Bell supplies you with a website to “follow the ongoing investigation” at the end. Which, by the way, is the only surprise element in the story. Most of us looked back at the projector room to see if there was some technical error, but then the credits played.
So, this is the gist – Maria (Suzan Crowley) makes an emergency call in 1989, saying she’s killed three people. Possessed chicks do that sorta thing, apparently. Police turn up and she obligingly growls, gets arrested, and the Catholic Church sends her to a loony bin...inRome. Don’t ask.
Problem is, Maria has a daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade), who’s slow on the uptake. So, 20 years after her mommy got taken away, she decides to find out what really happened. She meets a couple of bumbling priests, Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), who come up with lines like “[Exorcism] is a combination of science and religion, based on my background in medicine” and “This isn’t consistent with any form of possession that I have seen”.
They decide to exorcise Crazy Mom. So Genius Exorcist Doctor comes up with “I found four voices in the recordings”, and Dumb Brunette Daughter goes, “What does that mean?” He patiently explains, “Multiple demonic possession.” I was hoping it would turn into a romance, but that would be sinful. The only pragmatic element in this movie is a nod to the economic slowdown – one of the exorcists is worried he’ll lose his job during the Catholic Church’s next round of layoffs. The only bit of entertainment for me was watching a snoozing gentleman at my side wake up every time someone screamed, and look at the screen, nonplussed, before dozing off again. I mean, seriously, The Devil Inside could only serve as a propaganda tool to stop conversion to Catholicism in India.
The Verdict: It’s an embarrassment to humanity that a film taglined “Many have been possessed by one; only one has been possessed by many” grossed 68 million dollars.


Post a Comment