Director: William Brent Bell (2012)
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quartermain, Suzan Crowley
Find it: IMDB
Seeing a movie on the big screen with a large audience, can vastly improve the moviegoing experience. It's been suggested that my indifference to Insidious was because I saw that on a tiny television screen, alone. And thanks to its audience, I could've sworn blind that Spider-Man 3 was a good movie. In the case of The Devil Inside, the entire audience were laughing their collective and individual arses off. I laugh at most horror, but this is one of the few times everyone else in the room has joined me in a cheeky LOL (the other times usually having something to do with a Night Shyamalan).
The Devil Inside starts off pretending to be a documentary (with talking heads and everything) and then descends into being the Paranormal Activity rip-off it is at heart. Isabella Rossi (Andrade) and documentary maker Michael (Ionut Grama) travel to Italy to investigate a crime her mother committed years ago, during an exorcism gone wrong. Isabella's priest friends determine that Mother is still possessed. They invite her to join them in a series of unauthorised exorcisms. Meanwhile, the funniest demonic horror movie since Repossessed.
There's a scene in which one of the priests baptises a baby 'John Thomas'. Calling your newborn son John Thomas is only marginally more acceptable than calling it Richard Head. And during the possession scenes, there's some brilliant swearing. But demonic swearing only works if your movie is actually scary. And since The Devil Inside is fairly incompetent in its horror, the swearing just comes across as hilarious filth; the sort of thing you'd see scripted in a Todd Phillips movie.
There's some nearly scary stuff (all in the trailer, mind). Suzan Crowley does bug-eyed well. I even jumped once (at the cheapest scare, involving a dog). And Italy looks nice. The Devil Inside is essentially a found footage version of The Rite, rite down to an act of violence committed upon an unsuspecting child. But beyond its two fairly impressive exorcism scenes, the rest of the film makes little sense. The last quarter has the urgency of [REC] without any of the scares and too much predictability. It becomes completely manic, over the top and incredibly implausible. There's demonic transference and then there's taking the piss. Kitchen sink transference. It's not remotely believable as a faux-documentary or otherwise, and the ending is just as bad as everyone says it is.
Going in with very low expectations, I enjoyed The Devil Inside. It's a hilarious movie up until you realise that by paying to see it, you're keeping a cynical half-arsed approach to filmmaking in business.