Buckle up for the ride that is "Deliver Us From Evil," a highly intense and effective mash-up of police procedural and horror show. Boosting the story's thrill quotient is its air of authenticity: The film was inspired by actual paranormal cases described by former New York Police officer Ralph Sarchie in a 2001 book he co-wrote with Lisa Collier Cool.
In lesser hands, the movie might have seemed silly or clichéd — and for some it still may — between its believe-it-or-not devil-doings and patchwork of dueling-genre tropes. But Derrickson (
Bana, sporting a credible New Yawk accent and great-fitting T-shirts, plays Sarchie, a tough if haunted South Bronx-area cop with a self-described "heavy hand." Along with his adrenaline-junkie partner (a buff and tatted
Father Joe Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez), an offbeat Jesuit priest with a dark past and ties to the feral Jane, tries to convince a skeptical Sarchie that demonic possession is fueling these mounting occurrences. Policeman and padre join up to battle what Mendoza deems "primary evil": a pure, destructive force of infinite power.
Ancient Latin writing and strange symbols, questions of faith, a chilling and inventive use of music by the Doors and, most frightening, a veteran (
It all concludes with a big, bloody, utterly mesmerizing exorcism sequence that's worth the price of admission. For what it sets out to do, "Evil" delivers.
'Deliver Us From Evil'
MPAA rating: R for bloody violence, grisly images, terror and language
Running time: 1 hour, 57 minutes