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The Devil Inside(2012)
In Italy, a woman becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism.
For more about The Devil Inside and the The Devil Inside Blu-ray release, see the The Devil Inside Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 15, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
Director: William Brent Bell
» See full cast & crew
The Devil Inside Blu-ray Review
Don't let the devil make you watch it.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 15, 2012
The Vatican does not authorize the recording of Roman Catholic exorcisms. The Vatican did not endorse this film nor aid in its completion.
Geez, whodathunkit that the Vatican wouldn't endorse or otherwise make aid available to the making of The Devil Inside? One would think that the Catholic Church would be bending over backwards all Linda Blair-like to make sure it got in on the action with this one, to guarantee the organization's good name is plastered on the poster in a positive light, to at least ensure that the movie might be as authentic and gripping as possible. Certainly their endorsement would have meant a steady stream of newcomers to the Catholic church, the end of demonic possessions, peace on Earth, $0.98 gasoline, a cure for cancer, and no more atrociously awful Horror movies. But someone over there in the middle of Italy must have fallen asleep at the switch, or assumed that the The Devil Inside was actually the title of the yet-unreleased biopic on the Liebman family's cat from hell, not a picture about human possessions and exorcisms. If only they would have supported this film, what wonders might be in store for the moviegoing public and humanity-at-large. But alas, The Devil Inside, without the Vatican's blessing, is merely a boring-to-terrible ugly redheaded stepchild of a Horror movie. Not screened for critics (but thanks to Paramount for sending out the Blu-ray disc on street date) and panned by audiences, The Devil Inside sucks the life from all who watch it, leaving viewers powerless to forget the hell that is this clunker of a Horror film.
On October 30, 1989, a normal, loving wife and mother, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), murdered three clergy members. Word has it that these were not random acts of violence, nor were they premeditated or even committed by the same soul normally housed within Maria Rossi's body. No, the kindly, unassuming mother is said to have been possessed by demons, and the killings took place during her attempted exorcism. In other words, the devil made her do it. Flash-Forward to the present day. Her daughter, Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade), is all grown up and wants answers. Her father's dead, and her mother is being held in a Vatican insane asylum. She travels to Italy in search of answers, to visit her mother and find closure for the past. What she finds is not the woman she knew. The church has no answers, or is at least unwilling to perform an exorcism, content to simply allow Maria to live out her life surrounded by four padded walls. But when Isabella meets two young rogue church scholars, Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), who perform exorcisms in cases the church will not touch, she's led down a dark road towards a hellish fate.
The one Heavenly reprieve from the awfulness that is The Devil Inside is that the movie runs a mere 75 minutes sans credits, so at the very least the experience doesn't last quite long enough to drive audiences batty. Related and on the negative side of the ledger and atop that lengthy list is the observation that the movie bores from the beginning; who knew a walkthrough of a bloody crime scene could be so dull? The movie never picks up any real rhythm after that. Instead, it simply moves from one segment to the next, casually and gradually but with little thought or care for cohesion or tension or logic building the story along the way. The characters are flat and given only enough background and shape to advance the story from one generic scene to the next. At its core, The Devil Inside is sort of a mixture of Paranormal Activity and reality television. There's a lot of face-to-camera commentary and a decidedly amateurish, late-night generic TV vibe. It's one of those things where cameras are integral to the telling of the story. They're visible, placed everywhere, and a part of the action. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that combining the craze of reality TV and the fad of shooting movies on video as if they were some moving journal of an event might be a better idea than making yet another straight Horror film. Kudos for trying something different, but the filmmakers earn a failing grade for execution and the end result.
The good news, aside from the short runtime, is that The Devil Inside manages to rise above the absolute worst-of-the-worst; it's better than Bucky Larson and far more polished than Airline Disaster, but that's certainly a roundabout condemnation in its own right. But in all seriousness, the movie shows flashes of acceptable cinema. The actress who plays the murdering, possessed mother character actually turns in a solid effort. Whether in a faraway and inwardly crazed state or in the throws of an outwardly vicious and clearly demon-possesed demeanor, she looks the part and gives it an energy and even borderline believability each time she appears on-screen. But sadly, the rest of the characters are little more than bodies through which the plot is carried out. There's little life to any other performance, and certainly the bland pseudo-reality show script surely made for difficult days on the set. But the real problem is that, both thematically and dramatically, there's nothing new here. The movie banks on that "first-hand video journal/phony reality" style to breathe new life into an old Horror sub-genre. Not only does it not work here, but the technical execution seems always lagging behind even the poor script and flat performances, all culminating in an awkward ending that seems more like the end of the second act than the closing shot of the film, and that audiences are pointed to a website to learn more seems to only reinforce that idea.
The Devil Inside Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Devil Inside is sourced primarily from lower-grade HD video equipment. Though the film begins with wavy, messy 1.33:1 standard definition video footage purportedly from 1989, the majority of the film appears in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and delivers high definition video elements. For the most part, the newer footage looks fine, given there's adequate lighting within the scene. In still interviews and well-lit, calm locales, viewers will note strong lifelike textures, even through the fairly flat and glossy low-grade HD video sheen. Facial and clothing textures appear adequately complex, ditto some of the rough stone textures around Italy's exteriors and the wooden tables and the blackboard inside a classroom setting seen early in the film. Clarity and detailing both suffer in lower-light shots. Here, the image takes on a pasty edge, with increased noise and a loss of stability. Colors largely find the same fate. They're vibrant and accurate in well-lit scenes, muddled and absent brilliance in darker segments. However, blacks and flesh tones are satisfying. Light banding creeps across bright skies and a few backgrounds show some blockiness, but for the most part the transfer is as good as the source allows, which ranges from handsome to murky.
The Devil Inside Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Devil Inside's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack handles all of the expected bumps and thuds and all of the other routine and generic Horror movie elements well enough. The track incorporates some hissy, boomy, "natural" camera sounds that listeners might encounter in raw home video-type footage. Yet it's also fairly well engineered after the fact, giving it a real-life but at the same time studio-polished feel. Fortunately, the combination largely works. Various crashes and heavy sound effects that emanate from the sides are well-placed and executed with good power and presence. Heavy thuds, pounding on a side door, and muffled screams from closed-off characters help set the stage for the film's action scenes. Music plays with sufficient clarity, good spacing, and a fair low end heft. Light ambience around city exteriors or the rumble of a car engine and passing traffic as heard from inside of the vehicle are naturally placed. Dialogue is smooth and plays clearly from the center speaker, and shrieks and screams and crazy sounds flowing from the mouths of the possessed are naturally sharp and scary. The back channels don't get much love, however, save for a few moments of absolute sonic chaos. On the whole, this is a suitable track with a few audible surprises and that features fine execution of all of those heavy Horror movie sound effects.
The Devil Inside Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Devil Inside contains no on-disc supplements. However, Paramount has included a UV Digital Copy for those who wish to watch The Devil Inside on-the-go.
The Devil Inside Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Even Satan himself probably thinks The Devil Inside stinks and gives him a bad name. This is one for the bad movie record books, and while it's certainly not amongst the lowest of the low, it still comes to the same dance and wades through the same old bad movie garbage. No purpose, no rhythm, no new ideas, an unsuccessful merging of "found footage" and "reality television," and a sudden go-nowhere ending make this one of the worst big studio movies of the past few years. Paramount's Blu-ray release of The Devil Inside features solid video and audio and, no surprise, not a single supplement. Skip it, though fans of epically bad cinema might want to check it out on bad movie night.
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The Devil Inside Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Devil Inside Blu-ray - March 12, 2012
In May, Paramount Home Media Distribution will bring The Devil Inside to Blu-ray. This found-footage horror film focuses on a woman's increasingly terrifying experiences as she tries to rid her mother of demonic possession. The Devil Inside streets as a Best ...
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