"The Vatican School of Exorcism wasn't in the Rome guide books when I last checked..."
It's fair to say that The Devil Inside hasn't been met with the most favourable of reviews, consistently slated by those to have seen it. Although sometimes crap horror movies can be great fun, potentially worthy of a cult-like status. But sometimes crap horror movies are just crap, and unfortunately for director William Brent Bell, this particular picture falls into the latter category.
Presented as a mockumentary, Fernanda Andrade plays Isabella Rossi, travelling to Rome, Italy, desperately attempting to get to the bottom of her mothers insanity case. Locked up in a mental asylum, Maria (Suzan Crowley) once murdered three innocent people, and her daughter is convinced that she had been possessed when committing such crimes.
In Rome she visits the Vatican School of Exorcism, meeting Father Ben Rawlings (Simon Quarterman) and Father David Keane (Evan Helmuth), who illegally conduct exorcisms behind the church's back. Isabella, alongside documentary maker Michael (Ionut Grama) sit in on an exorcism before deciding to tackle Maria and attempt to release the demons from inside of her.
Ultimately the job of the horror movie is to scare and terrify the audience, but The Devil Inside fails miserably. Considering I was fortunate enough to attend a special preview screening for the film, held at an old church, with scary nuns walking around, and a harrowing choir playing before the film and it still wasn't scary - what hope has this film got in your local cinema?
One of the main problems is that the exorcisms are funny, which I'm certain isn't supposed to be the case. When you watch The Exorcist now it does seem somewhat ridiculous, and almost lasts on it's cult following and now famous cinematic imagery. Yet The Devil Inside doesn't carry any such prestige and therefore only takes the absurdity and comedic aspects to The Exorcist to make for a quite nonsensical feature.
The film certainly does have potential, combining the found-footage genre with exorcism and religion, despite the former having been done to death with pictures such as Rec. and The Blair Witch Project. Yet any such potential soon turns to absurdity, as the film suffers from the age old horror movie issue; its ending.
Due to the abruptness of the finale, The Devil Inside almost feels like half a film, completely neglecting the more common approach to a film, whereby you conclude the bloody story. Given that the production falls short of 90 minutes, it certainly has more time to expand upon it's story and attempt to resolve issues, whereas it feels like Bell just thought, "I have no idea how to end this, so lets just stop right there and hope for the best".
The acting and script are also of a very low standard, the former completely underplaying the supposed severity of the situation at hand, which only seeks in devaluing the film, making it less scary, as the characters all seem quite unperplexed at exorcisms and the breaking of the law.
I am always somewhat sceptical before horror movies, but I really attempted to get into the spirit of this one and it still failed to engross me, or scare me in any way. It's just over-the-top and unoriginal, with a few too many misgivings within its story. The Vatican School of Exorcism wasn't in the Rome guide books when I last checked.
It's just another low-budget horror flick, that will be a huge hit at the box office, making quite a substantial profit for sure. It may not be of a very high standard but the filmmakers have done exactly what they set out to do, it's just an annoyance we've got to bear the brunt of it. It's being billed as the film the Vatican doesn't want you to see, but that's not because it's offensive to Catholicism, it's because it's not very good.