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Review: Mismatched pieces of exorcism thriller ‘Along Came the Devil’ don't fit

Review: Mismatched pieces of exorcism thriller ‘Along Came the Devil’ don't fit
Sydney Sweeney in the movie "Along Came the Devil." (Gravitas Ventures)

The supernatural thriller “Along Came the Devil” opens with four long, screen-filling sentences of back story, explaining how the heroine, Ashley (played by Sydney Sweeney) moved in with her Aunt Tanya (Jessica Barth), after her occultist mother, Sarah, mysteriously disappeared. Then, for some reason, the movie flashes back to Ashley as a little girl, living with an abusive father, at a time before the opening crawl.

Judging just by those baffling first few minutes, something went awry in making this picture. Director and co-writer Jason DeVan assembled a good cast, and has solidly constructed scare sequences strewn throughout “Along Came the Devil.” But even at its best, the movie feels stitched together from incomplete, ill-fitting pieces.

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And to what end? Once the film catches up to the present day, it becomes a fairly uninspired ripoff of “The Exorcist.” Ashley senses her mom’s presence and attempts to contact her via the spirit world. Instead, Ashley becomes infected with a demon of her own.

There are a few interesting ideas in “Along Came the Devil” — mainly having to do with a “possessed” teen being indistinguishable from a typically flippant juvenile delinquent. There’s also a semi-fruitful subplot involving a wizened pastor (Bruce Davison) and his younger colleague (Matt Dallas) at Tanya’s church.

But none of this really leads anywhere original. From the opening text to the closing credits, this movie keeps lurching impatiently ahead toward scenes that horror fans have seen before.

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‘Along Came the Devil’

Not rated.

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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