Everybody likes a good scare and, judging from the $35 million that The Devil Inside made this weekend, they like a bad one, too. I realize it's very early to say this, but if The Devil Inside doesn't turn out to be one of the worst movies of 2012, then I fear for the year ahead. I had high hopes for this one since it had a pretty effective advertising campaign and it combines two of my favorite horror subgenre's: faux documentary and exorcism. Even with the immediate realism of the documentary genre and the unknowable horror of an exorcism movie, The Devil Inside manages to not only feel miniscule in scope, but is also free and clear of any and all scares and comes fully packaged with one of the worst endings in cinematic history.
Don't let the awesome trailer fool you into thinking this is more than just your average beginning-of-the-year crap. January is typically the dumping ground for films the studios are too afraid to release around awards season and normally won't even screen them for critics. Most of the time, if you're sitting down to a movie in January, it's probably going to be terrible, but there are exceptions to every rule. The Devil Inside is not one of them. If anything, it solidifies the rule in poopy-flavored shame.
If I had to find a bright spot in the film, it would be the performance of Suzan Crowly as the possessed woman. She manages to portray demonic possession subtly, which I didn't know was possible and she elevates every scene she is a part of. But because the movie has no idea of what makes a film good or bad, it forgets about her for large chunks of time and all we're left with is her daughter (who is so boring she circles back around to still boring), the cameraman and the two priests helping her. We're never given a reason to care about any of them and so we never do.
When the closing credits started (after actually having the hubris to say if you wanted the rest of the story to go to the website) a guy in front of me stood up and yelled "What the F&%*!" and everyone in the auditorium laughed and laughed. But then they got quiet and a little pissed and went to their cars, hoping their day wasn't too far gone to salvage.
The Devil Inside
Starring Fernanda Andrade,
Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
and Suzan Crowley
Directed by William Brent Bell