As Bad As You Thought?: The Devil Inside
This week’s choice of movie to recap for all of you was an easy choice, you see dear readers from the moment I first saw the trailers for this particular movie I knew in my heart and soul I would have to review it for all of you. The Devil Inside looked like it was just taking every cliched scary moment from a demonic possession flick and putting them together without a shred of the originality the The Last Exorcism had. I knew this movie would disappoint people on a grand scale and once the reviews came rolling in I was proven right; so after a celebratory dance on the subject I waited until the time was right to recap and review this movie. And it is now that time to see if The Devil Inside is as bad as you thought?
We start off with a title card explaining that the Vatican was against this movie being made, last time I checked the guys at the Vatican were against just about everything so no shocker there. And then…on October 30 of 1989…..shit…got…real. We see the transcription from a 911 call where a woman named,
Maria Rossi is calling the police to inform then that she killed…everyone, well not really EVERYONE, I mean you and I mean she’s still around. We are then treated to police footage of the crime scene walk through and we get a tour of all of the nuns and priests she murdered, hey still better than my tour of the Museum of Lunchboxes. Then something off in the distance makes a loud noise and then something comes at the police camera, way to secure your crime scene guys, I would tell you what it was but it’s not clear at all what just happened. After a news report of the incident we are introduced to her daughter Isabella in the present day, we don’t have a helpful title card to explain it but it’s kind of implied. She goes through her whole history with her mother and how she needs closure for what happened and how her mum owes her thousands in unpaid Birthday money.
We then meet the “documentary filmmaker” Michael who is behind this stupid found footage style movie, geez I am sick of these flicks for every Paranormal Activity 3 or Last Exorcism we get a million of these kinds of movies. Anyways, Michael who has borrowed his mother’s camcorder to make this movie and talk to experts and tracks Maria Rossi’s track from committing a murder in New England to her being found innocent by reason of insanity though it seems she does not fit the bill for legal insanity, and how she has been sentenced to a psychiatric hospital in Italy…..WAITAMINUTE!!!…am I the only one who realized that does not make any sense how do you go into a custody for a crime on foreign soil. They halfway explain it by saying it was because she murdered those people in an exorcism which clears things up for stupid people for people with brains not so much. Next time I commit a crime I’m hoping to be sentenced to prison in Sweden they have the nicest prisons from what I’m told.
On Isabella’s search for answers and closure she goes to Rome to talk to the people at the Vatican and to talk to her mother in the insane asylum and NOW we get the helpful title card explaining that it is November of 2009. Since the Vatican is known for it’s openness to strangers I have high hopes for her in trying to get their help. Apparently she has some kind of All Access Catholic Badge because she just walks into a Demonoic Possession 101 class. She talks about how the diversity of the class was comforting because it was a nice mix of caucasian English speaking Catholic clergy present. She meets up with her classmates in a local pub to talk about exorcisms and stuff and the camera keeps shaking around, I guess Documentarian Michael couldn’t afford a tripod. According to the title card a month passes and she finally goes to visit her mother which was the whole point of going there I thought. The guard at the hospital tells them no cameras are allowed so are film crew brings their cameras in anyway without trouble.
She gets to see the nice tribute video the hospital made for her showing how crazy and violent her mother is, it was nice of them to go through the trouble of making it but some music would have been a nice touch just saying. As Isabella walks through the corridors of the hospital she lingers in her staring at the patience, I guess nobody told her staring at psych-patients for an extended period of time is not really a good idea. She finally gets to go into her mother’s cell to find her maternal figure in a dazed stupor. As Isabella tries carrying on a conversation her mother starts mumbling quietly to herself so she gets closer to her crazed and murderous mother, because that always helps in movie situations like this, eventually Maria Rossi shows her daughter her paintings, which are actually quite good, but ultimately delaying the inevitable attack that always happens in these situations. Isabella tells her mother she does not have a lot of time (she’s been there for a whole month) that’s when mother dearest finally loses it and claws and bites poor Isabella in a fit of madness, actually she just screams kind of loud, I know crazy people screaming is unheard of and it freaks out her daughter who I guess is scared of loud noises.
She consoles herself by continuing to drone on and on about possession and the usual topics of conversation of this movie so far. To say her character is underdeveloped is a huge understatement all we know about her is that her mother is a crazed murderer and she has a fascination with demonic possession, but not a cool fascination which might be productive more like a she needs a reason to go to Italy and talk with priests kind of deal. She then goes and talks to the priests from the class she sat in on, so far if this movie cut out all the scenes of people talking about exorcisms to the camera in the most boring ways imaginable, this movie would be like 3 minutes long. The main priests give their life stories because I guess we are supposed to care, and I go to refill my cup of Kool-Aid which is waaaay more interesting than anything they have to say, it’s grape Kool-Aid by the way. They analyze the footage from her meeting with Crazy Mom from the video camera they were not supposed to have and of course they find something worth their attention; it appears she cut crosses into her skin which are inverted, except there not inverted but I’ll take the priest’s word for it.
For some reason she earns their trust and the priests show her their version of Chloe’s Wall of Weird, which is all of the people they performed exorcisms on without church permission, such rebels, especially since in the realm of paranormal investigations there are several people who have been taught by the clergy to carry out such rituals on their own without any church involvement and said people are not even Catholics. They offer to take her on a ride along of sorts to watch an exorcism like COPS but religious and without anything exciting. They go to see a little girl who the parents locked in their basement because her condition is so bad, oh and as we see the basement it is obvious there are enough sharp and dangerous tools and objects scattered around that Ash could take on a whole army of Deadites with just what’s there, so it’s safe for a demon possessed girl.
It is obvious the poor girl is possessed because she shows off her basic contortionist skills, which look like the kind of stretching someone who was pretty flexible could pull off, but someone not flexible would be terrified. They hook her up to all of their medical equipment and quietly and calmly begin their work and demon girl begins to talk mildly verbally harass Isabella. During the ceremony she breaks free from her binds, thankfully something might actually happen finally, but unfortunately she is easily captured by the priests, great feat of demonic super human strength. Later at the Priest Cave they go over the footage and Isabella gets a phone call and at this point of the movie I am firmly rooting for Satan and I hope he kills all of these boring and uninteresting characters. And of course as we watch the “thrilling” conversations the camera keeps wobbling around and shaking for no real reason. As they drone on they reach the inevitable conclusion that they should perform an exorcism on Isabella’s mother, what an unforeseen plot twist!
The mental hospital is more than happy to let these guys just going in an performing medical and psychological tests on their patient apparently and they strap her to a table and a bunch of equipment. While being monitored she screams loud again, frightening I know, the priests see mental patients screaming randomly and talking in a violent fashion as proof of possession and begin exorcising. Crazy Maria Rossi, does the standard demon possessed thing by harassing the priests with knowledge about them she should not know and using super strength to sling them around and every other thing you’ve ever seen in any possession movie ever. Afterwards we get more footage of the main character having adventures in dull conversations. There is a whole ordeal about how the church saw footage of them blatantly tormenting a mental patient and decide that Maria is not possessed, another plot twist!!!!! The various character whine into the camera, including Filmmaker David or Michael, remembering his name is not worth the effort, complaining they’re treating him like the annoying guy with the camera (because he is) and that he singlehandedly exposed what the Church is doing behind closed doors (I must have missed that whole part of the movie). After several minutes of pointless things we see one of the main priests of the movie (I think they have names but I really don’t care) performs a baptism on an infant in church and tries to drown the baby, supposed to scary, ends up being morbidly kind of funny. Luckily the filmmaker was there to film it with his trusty poor quality camcorder that he STILL does not know how to operate because he keeps shaking it around and zooming in and out and such, very professional looking production qualities. When Now-Possessed-Priest gets back home he causes a ruckus with the other movie characters and the police show up, I wish bad movie making was a crime so they could all be arrested, but they only want Possessed-Baby-Drowning-Priest who steals a policeman’s gun and the professional Rome Police Department let his priest buddy go in front of them to talk to Armed Baby Drowner who shoots Isabella and then himself. Finally a character in this movie does something smart.
Sadly Isabella makes it to a hospital and begins to recover, and the surviving priest and the filmmaker discuss how a demon is jumping around to different hosts. When they make it to Isabella’s hospital room she is of course now possessed and slicing up people and throwing a temper tantrum that would put a spoiled toddler at Toys-R-Us to shame. They break her out of the hospital because as this movie has proven apparently Italian healthcare professionals don’t care what people do to their patients. Of course she does the whole demon rampage thing in the car and the demon apparently possesses annoying Filmmaker who is driving and of course swerves into oncoming traffic causing the audience to rejoice. Another title card tells us the facts around this case have still not been resolved, I guess because nobody cares, but if you do care there is a web site you are told to visit, I’m sure the server crashed from all the visits. In order to be a completist I visited the web site, it’s just a site advertising the movie you just sat through.
Was this movie as bad as I thought? Why yes it was. It was titled The Devil Inside but I believe a better title would be, Boring Conversations While a Guy Films it in a Way to Make You Motion Sick. This flick is one of those rare examples of a movie where nothing goes right; the acting by the entire cast is as bland and wooden as the characters they are playing. As for the story, it seems like the people behind the camera were just making up stuff as they went along, and figured that as long as the characters were talking about possession and exorcism they were safe. The plot starts with a woman being sent to a Italian psych hospital because of crimes she committed in America because she was possessed THEN we get her daughter’s story of hanging out with exorcists in Italy THEN we get a story about a demon bouncing around and possessing people in their clique, it’s like the “screenwriter” would reach a point and go “no I got it! It would be cool if….” then change the direction of the movie to accomplish that. As far as the look and direction of the film, it looks like the director just picked up a cheap video camera from Best Buy and just toted it around with him. I may not be the biggest fan of the whole “found footage” style, but it is possible to utilize it properly, but this movie not only fails to use it properly but fails to even use the technique in a way that is even watchable, the camera keeps a safe distance from the action at all times which does not help the fact that the movie has a complete lack of tension or dread about anything. If you feel the need to watch a horror movie about exorcisms avoid this one and at least watch one that actually tries to be scary.