Think of a mix between The Exorcist and Cloverfield minus their originality and professionalism, and that’s what The Devil Inside is. Using “real-life” 9-11 dispatcher calls, the movie follows Isabella Rossi, the daughter of a possessed woman who killed priests at her own exorcism. In some non-sensical attempt to gain closure, Isabella teams with a couple of rogue priests (that’s right, I said “rogue priests”), to perform another exorcism on her mother. It doesn’t take much to figure out what happens next.
As much as the script needs a jolt of freshness, blandness is not this film’s ultimate failure. After all, the majority of Hollywood’s wide releases are remakes or rehashes of something we’ve seen before. The difference with The Devil Inside is there is a lack of care and respect from the filmmakers. The camera is jolty, the lighting is suspect, and the transitions are uncomfortable. The film being a faux-documentary is their excuse. But audiences are smarter than that. We are not being treated to a first-hand account of newly-uncovered footage hidden in the archives of the police department. We are instead forced to watch bad art under the guise of competent investigation.
All this can be forgiven, however, if there was an inch of fright within the scenes. But laughs abound, and none of them are intentional. A old lady who speaks in a weird English accent is not possessed; she lives down Mulberry Street. A rogue priest who almost drowns a baby is not shocking; he’s just not believable. A woman who gets a little bat-shit crazy is not the devil; she’s called an ex-girlfriend. But hey — what do I know? I’m not one of the guys sitting $40 million richer. In fact, I helped them get that way.