Sunday, January 22, 2012

Phil sees THE DEVIL INSIDE at the Camera 12-January 21, 2012

So since I'm still healing from my severe sprang ankle, I thought it would be more fun to heal inside a movie theater. So I ventured out to the Camera 12 in Downtown San Jose to see a plethora of films! The first film I saw on Saturday was the first horror film release of 2012. Now being a horror fan, I always get excited when I hear new horror film is coming to the big screen. However, in the case with THE DEVIL INSIDE, I really wish that this was a good horror film worth seeing on the big screen.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2012)
The film is supposedly inspired by true events. In 1989, three clergy men are killed by a woman named Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), who phoned 911 to inform the authorities of her murders. She is tried and found to be criminally insane and is sent to a mental hospital in Italy. Twenty years later her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) travels to Italy to search for answers to what exactly happened that night. Accompanying her is Michael Schaefer (Ionut Grama), a documentary filmmaker who is filming her journey of revelations. Once there they met two priests: Father Ben Rawlings (Simon Quarterman) and Father David Keane(Evan Helmuth). When she tells them that the murders committed by her mother accrued during an exorcism, they begin to suspect that Maria is possessed and begin to perform an exorcism, without the authorization of the church. However things become more complicated as the young priests discover that Isabella's mother is suffering from a "multi-demon possession," which in turn causes havoc among the foursome.

There are numerous flaws to be found within this film. One is the so-called "found footage" that has just been done to death. Ever since the release of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT in 1999 (jeez has it been thirteen years already?), there have been numerous films that have copied the film's idea and premise. Films like the infamous AUGUST UNDERGROUND series, the very popular and highly successful CLOVERFIELD, the cool creepiness of the Spanish series [REC.], to the overly drawn out and incredibly boring PARANORMAL ACTIVITY trilogy, the "found documentary" idea is now officially been "done to death!" If this film was released over ten years ago, it would have been hailed as a breath of fresh air, a monumental movie event in both the film world and in the horror genre. But it didn't come out ten years ago, and now the only horror caused by the film is our empty wallets.

Another factor that I didn't care for was the "documentary footage" that was found and pieced together. Now, I have seen a great many documentaries, and since I've made a couple of documentaries (and helped out on others), the aspect that removed me from the film, from almost at the very beginning, was the "look" of the documentary. It didn't look "real," like an actual documentary. It was too staged, too precised and too rehearsed. The acting was way too stiff and unbelievable for me. Nothing felt like it was actually happening, like in most documentaries. The elements of surprise, shock, and truth are important to have in the world of docs. This film didn't have any of these factors and since I was taken out of the film, almost right from the start, I had a hard time sitting through the next hour and a half.

Now the 911 audio call in the very beginning of the film really impressed me. It was creepy, very disturbing to hear, and having to hear this with just a black screen with the audio playing was very effective. Of course, I thought it was a going to be "one of the most horrifying films" to be released, but alas, that wasn't the case. Granted it was somewhat more tolerable than THE LAST EXORCISM but not as atrocious than THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. But let's face facts people, with 1973's THE EXORCIST, no other film can come close to what that film has done and therefore it is the film that all other exorcism or devil/religious films are measured by. My advise is to stay away from making a film like this. It has already been made, perfectly made for that matter, and so let's move on from this particular sub-genre.

THE DEVIL INSIDE is 2012's first worst horror film to be released. Hopefully the horror world can bounce back from this nauseating piece of cinematic rubbish. What the horror genre needs are new voices, new ideas, and new talented filmmakers that will transcend the genre into something worth being scared of. Until then, let this film rot in Hell for all eternity.

THE DEVIL INSIDE is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!


  1. It's hard to believe that The Blair Witch Project was done all the way back in '99 - I remember not being allowed to see it in the cinema because I was too young. It's by far the best 'found-footage' film.
    I can't say that I'm interested in viewing The Devil Inside. The reviews I read aren't favourable to it, but also because it doesn't seem like the type of the film that's going to grab my attention.
    Nice review handsome :)

    1. I was so damn disappointed with this film. As a horror fan, when will we see a horror film that is actually scary, not inept and stupid? And thanks for the kind words!

  2. Here's my dilemma, great review which clearly directs me to NOT see The Devil Inside. But then again if I don't watch it I wont have a worst list for 2012. Do I sit through horrible films? Or just watch not great movies and condemn them as the worst?

    Either or I like your list of the found footage films that have been present in the last decade or so, its strange to think how many have been released since 1999. Megan Is Missing is supposedly also suppose to be a good found footage film. I dislike Blair Witch though and quite enjoyed the first Paranormal Activity, but to each his own I suppose. I need to see [REC]...

    1. I would recommend you seeing it for two reasons: One) So you can see first hand how Hollywood has run out of good ideas. Two) What NOT to do in a horror film. Of course if you're a horror fanatic like myself you'll see ever horror film release just because we are diehard horror fans, and that we hope to see a great horror film that will scare us and entertain us.

    2. Uhh you got me there. But you prove more optimistic than me. I've been lurking around in the 70's and 80's avoiding the new decade as often as I can. I'll see it, maybe I'll just hang out on twitter while I watch it so that I don't have to endure it head on.