Directed by Scott Derrickson. Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Olivia Horton. Screen Gems.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up|
Content advisory: Intense, graphic violence; plenty of menace, scariness and gruesome or otherwise disturbing images; some obscene and crude language; references to drug addiction and sexual immorality.
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Why would a mother at the zoo throw her toddler over a railing into the moat of a lion enclosure? That’s the kind of horrible question that can look very different if you are a police officer or a priest.
When Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) skeptically tells Father Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) that he thinks it’s crazy to “blame invisible fairies” for the bad things people do, it’s not hard to see his point of view. Ordinary depravity and ruthlessness as well as mental illness are daily experiences for beat cops like him.
But when Father Mendoza distinguishes between “secondary evil” (the bad things people do) and “primary evil” (malign spiritual forces), it’s not hard to see his point of view either. Sometimes, in the face of a particular atrocity, mundane explanations seem to pall, particularly with horrifying crimes that seem to lack sufficient motivation or where there is some kind of occult or quasi-religious element. The recent “Slender Man” attacks are a tragic contemporary example.
Most films about possession, hauntings and other paranormal phenomena are structured as suspense or puzzle pieces, with a diagnostic or therapeutic approach toward determining what is going on and how to address it. Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose took a forensic approach, blending a possession/exorcism story with courtroom drama.
In Deliver Us From Evil, a mash-up of demonic horror and police procedural, Derrickson and his usual writing partner Paul Harris Boardman take a completely different approach. As a cop, Sarchie’s concern is not where evil comes from, only what its effects are, particularly when they are criminal.