[Blu-ray Review] The Lifeless ‘Devil Inside’

Bland, but not awful.

That’s really the best way to explain almost everything about William Bell’s The Devil Inside, an exorcism film that’s a little too safe and way too familiar. At no point does Matthew Peterman and Bell’s script break the mold and do anything fresh, new or outside of the box; that is, until the very last second, when they decide to do absolutely nothing at all and abruptly end the movie, leaving everyone with blue balls and making it one of the worst studio horror films ever in one fell swoop!

The third act, or lack thereof, is really the only mildly fascinating thing about the faux doc, which speaks volumes about how boring and unfrightening the rest of Isabella Rossi’s (Fernanda Andrade) trip to Rome is. Grown up and looking for a better explanation of what happened with her mother before she was carted off to a mental institution near the Vatican, Isabella teams up with a cameraman and heads overseas for answers. After meeting Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), Catholic seminary students who act as rogue exorcists in their spare time, the group investigates some unaddressed cases and Isabella’s mom, Maria. They eventually come under attack from a dark presence, which makes way for a soul transference subplot, a la Jason Goes To Hell and The Hidden, that never goes anywhere since the film just… ends.

The absence of a proper finale takes The Devil Inside from being snooze-worthy to anger inducing. It’s hard not to imagine some marketing “genius” cutting out the end – when doing press, Peterman commented that his was different from the theatrical cut – with the logic that people love social media and being connected 24/7 with their phones, so they’ll LOVE going online to read about the ending THEY PAID TO SEE, and then discuss it. Online. The worst part is that it made over $100 million worldwide on a $1 million budget, so no one is being scolded for this abomination of a climax; in fact, a bunch of people probably got a raise, bonus and/or pat on the back.

Now THAT’S horrifying.

The Devil Inside is lazy and plays up every exorcism cliché imaginable while managing to not add anything new. There’s a movie hiding in there about renegade exorcists, which could be a blast if the characters were fleshed out more and exciting things actually happened. In other words, if it was in the hands of someone who could produce more than one good scene (and an ending!) in an eighty-two minute film.

A/V

The Devil Inside is not a pretty film to begin with, so Paramount’s 1080p transfer isn’t anything to write home about. Shot with what appears to be low-end HD equipment, the picture is surprisingly half and half. During interviews and scenes that take place in well lit areas, detail and color is stronger than expected – though, it should be mentioned again that the movie is not exactly pretty and colorful – but everything else, especially the basement exorcism scene, looks as mediocre as expected, with very little picture clarity. There are also some scenes which are supposed to be news broadcasts from the 80’s and, to their credit, they are appropriately washed out and soft looking. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track trumps its video counterpart, with clear, crisp dialogue and good control over soft, subtle noises. There’s no discernible hissing or distortions, even when things get kind of crazy – in the context of the film, not that things actually get crazy in an enjoyable way at any time. Even if the jump scares are lame, the track takes full advantage of them.

Special Features

If you hate yourself, you can watch The Devil Inside on the go via UltraViolet. Other than that, the Blu-ray is devoid of any supplemental material. There’s not even a trailer.

Film: 0.5/5
Blu-ray: 2/5

  • http://www.facebook.com/zach.caylor Zach Caylor

    I was very upset with this film, it failed to engage me until about half-way, and then it just ends…..I was quite displeased with this

  • StatutoryApe

    “Bland” “little too safe” THE GUY TRIED TO DROWN A FUCKING BABY!!!!!!!! HOW IS THAT FUCKING “SAFE” !?!?!?!?!

    Christ you people amaze me sometimes. So what, the plot wasn’t the most original in film history, but that doesn’t make it a bad film.

  • StatutoryApe

    And another thing. All everyone has done is bash the film due to the ending cutting you off and not providing you any answers. Yet the first Paranormal Activity did the exact same fucking thing. Bitch kills the dude, turns all scary face at the camera, and boom, lights out. All the ending provided was a, “Katie’s no where to be found.” The ending didn’t provide any clues, any answers, or any insight into what was going to happen in a sequel. Yet everyone who writes for this site went absolutely ape shit for that film when it first came out.

    How you people fail to realize the sheer amounts of contradictions in your reviews and articles absolutely astound me.

  • John Marrone

    I think what happened is you had another “fair” film with a good marketing campaign, both of which fed off the public’s thirst for a good Devil film. Nobodys been touching them for a while now because the Exorcism thing has gotten a bit dry. To approach it from a realism angle was a good idea, and the film has its fleeting moments, but something about it all just felt like the same thing – people twisting and climbing walls and going GRRRR “Im mean and Im evil – hisssss”. Its gotten a bit old. That plus the detachment of the general public from Church things – unless you’re religious or especially spooked by anything Devlish – this film was a lot of hype and hope, with some very 2-dimensional delivery. I liked the ending myself – its pretty obvious what happened to everyone. I dont need all the answers.

  • anthonyd1

    this movie was fucking garbage. had so much potential but ended up being another rip off cash grab. terrible exorcism film with extremely manipulative marketing

  • markajacoby

    Listen, I don’t mind movies that leave me going “WTF?” but there’s got to be something leading up to this point. Heck my wife who jumps at the cat walking across her was like “This is boring.” And while I know this doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie, what does it say about a movie when the scene they choose for the cover has nothing to do with the movie and is in it for about 3 seconds? Wish I would have skipped it.