[BD Review] ‘Devil’s Due’ Delivers Some Surprisingly Bloody Goods

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Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. It’s incredibly hard to sustain a found footage feature, especially a studio one where there’s more money at stake and there might not be very much faith that the audience at large “gets it.” These days, if you’re going the POV route, the best thing you can do is keep the amount of times the characters reference the camera to a bare minimum. There are moments where I think Devil’s Due undercuts itself and trips up a bit when verbalizing the motivations behind the camera use. At times I even found myself wishing the film wasn’t found footage because I cared enough about what was going on to not want that narrative flow interrupted.

The good news is that I did indeed care that much. Devil’s Due, written by Lindsey Devlin and directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence (a four-piece collective whose other two members Justin Martinez and Chad Villella serve as producers on the film), is an involving and ultimately brutal horror film. In it, Samantha and Zach McCall (Allison Miller and Zach Gilford) are newlyweds that return home from their honeymoon unexpectedly pregnant and pretty soon things get… complicated. Rosemary’s Baby complicated (though you’ll find that Due has some key differences that help set it apart from Polanski’s vision of maternity).

It’s a relief to discover that Miller and Gilford are both sympathetic leads. At first I felt that they were a bit too broadly drawn, suffering from POV enabled bland white people syndrome, but as Devil’s Due bears into its second act the characters develop a nice specificity that becomes a crucial asset to the film. Not only are you invested in their well being, you’re able to read Miller’s body language to such an extent that you can’t help but empathize with the amount of physical and mental stress she’s under. Samantha, when not emboldened by vengeful superhuman rage, is being chipped away at – almost tortured to death by a pregnancy she’s not even sure she wanted in the first place.

As the pregnancy progresses, the sense of dread escalates. The audience is well aware of what’s going on before the characters are, which lends the film a nice “slow-motion car crash” aspect. It’s not if the inevitable will happen, it’s how. And it isn’t just a litany of torturous medical procedures, Samantha begins to display an impressive (and unconscious) capacity to commit evil acts in the name of protecting her unborn child. While the recent glut of studio found footage films are usually treading water at this point in their structure, waiting to unleash the final jump scare, Devil’s Due is carefully ramping up for a real conclusion.

By the time the film reaches the 3rd act, all of the slow burn stuff has cemented nicely and the stage is set not only for some truly suspenseful moments, but also a good deal of bloodshed. You may have first heard of Radio Silence by watching their “10-31-98” segment in V/H/S. That sense of anarchy is still present here and the sh*t still hits the fan. But you may be a bit surprised (pleasantly so, in my case) by how dark they’re willing to get. Studio found footage movies tend to feel PG-13 or wimp out altogether when it comes to their climax. Not Devil’s Due. It works itself up into a nice, bloody frenzy that should satisfy hardcore horror fans and might even shock the causal filmgoer.

 

Official Score

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    Sweet. The review from Fearnet is overall positive, too. Probably going to see this tomorrow.

  • Kwonkicker

    I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Devil’s Due was overall a very poor film. Much of the occurrences within the film were tired and ridiculous moments of naivety or outright stupidity with some of the characters. There was little to virtually no scares, tense or eerie moments.

    • St.-Frantic

      I thought it was pretty terrible. The story just didn’t flow well at all. Not very good at explaining why the main character guy is constantly using a camera. Very boring for the most part, even more so than Paranormal Activity 4. Wasn’t really scary either. I didn’t jump once throughout the film, or even think, that’s creepy. I’d give it a 1.5/5. The Marked Ones was MUCH better!

      • Kwonkicker

        Oh, YEAH dude for sure! Marked Ones brought horror into 2014 very strongly!!

        • hawkward

          I was really impressed by the marked ones!! i was expecting nothing from that movie. Devil’s due have absolutely nothing to give. I felt empty.

  • thefinalchick

    I am so disappointed with Bloody Disgusting. I feel like they either too scared to write a negative review or honestly believe so many terrible films like this are actually good films. To be honest, the thought that your reviewers really thought Devil’s Due was filled with dread is a hundred times more terrifying than the movie was. You should be ashamed if your review cause people to spend money on this pointless film, and the fact that you’re making excuses that its hard to sustain a found footage film is laughable. This film didn’t even fully commit to found footage! Beyond that there are many scenes that should at east be brought up later in the film and no one mentions them. No real motive is ever displayed and had not even the ounce of dread that Rosemary’s Baby did. If you’re a fan of found footage films I would recommend spending money seeing The Marked Ones instead.

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    Just got back from seeing this and i really don’t think this is as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Is it scary? Of course not. Is it original? How many horror movies are these days? I’m sure many people truly didn’t enjoy this movie, but I suspect others are just so caught up in their love of Rosemary’s Baby that they feel the need to shit all over this movie. At the very least I cared about the couple and found the humor very refreshing. I’d rather watch this a million times than go back and watch the infinitely more boring Paranormal movies. 6/10.

    • hawkward

      The marked ones was waaaaaaaaaay better than Devil’s due, not even close.

      • WalkWithMeInDarkness

        Wow, I’m catching this late but I’ll respond. I think all Paranormal films are shit with the exception of 3. That’s why I’d choose Devil’s Due over The Marked Ones. To each their own, right?

  • hawkward

    That movie was shit. Not entertaining at all, i had the impression that i was watching Twilight, wtf. We don’t care about the cute couple we dont want to see them cuddle 95% of the movie. And the end is not even a bit interesting, i was waiting for a demonic baby vomiting everywhere walking on walls and pissing on people’s faces and eating brains while he masturbates while watching his dead mommy. We don’t want love, we want blood, that’s the rule of horror lol.

    • goldo1107

      That’s interesting. Paranormal activity has gotten worse and worse. When I saw the first teaser trailer I said to myself that it looks like its not gonna be that good. Then I saw the official trailer and that is when I knew that the Marked ones was going to suck balls lol. I Frequent quite a few anything horror sites and the user review for the Marked ones is mediocre at best in all of them and this is the only site that I know of that gave the marked ones 4 skulls or stars or whatever.

      • WalkWithMeInDarkness

        @goldo1107 I’m with you. Paranormal is overrated unscary bullshit in my opinion. No offense to its fans, those movies just don’t do a fucking thing for me. 3 was decent but it’s easy to be decent and hard to be good.

  • mistermysterious

    Well, The Ending is really . . .