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Weak theology, chaste horror and bad filmmaking sink 'But Deliver Us From Evil'

Weak theology, chaste horror and bad filmmaking sink 'But Deliver Us From Evil'
Alice Rose in the movie "But Deliver Us From Evil." (Indican Pictures)

Beginning with references to Isaiah 34 and the Genesis story of Sodom and Gomorrah, “But Deliver Us From Evil” imagines what would happen if the Jewish mythological figure Lilith (Alice Rose) were slinking and slithering through modern-day Georgia. Once the question is posed, however, writer-director Joshua Coates’ faith-based thriller doesn’t concern itself with the letter or the spirit of the Bible — or a coherent script.

The Atlanta Police Department is mystified by a series of grisly murders, but the audience knows that it’s the succubus Lilith who is to blame. The demon seduces and kills men around the city, then moves on to a university campus. After a party turns deadly, she sets her sights on Jeremiah Young (Grant Harvey), a lonely new student.

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“But Deliver Us From Evil” has no tonal cohesion, and the amateur editing from Coates only exacerbates the issue. The unifying element is that every woman on screen is either a vixen or a victim. To be fair, the film doesn’t do much with its male characters either.

It’s unclear who the intended audience for “But Deliver Us From Evil” is supposed to be. The faithful may be turned off by a theology worthy of a vacation Bible school dropout, as well as seduction sequences that threaten to lead viewers into temptation. On the other hand, its intentional abstinence from nudity and cursing — as well as being wholly unwatchable — also make it unlikely viewing for mainstream audiences.

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‘But Deliver Us From Evil’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 9 minutes

Playing: The Underground Cinema at 7:15 p.m. daily; Electric Dusk Drive-In, Atwater Village, March 2-4, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m.; also available on VOD, starting March 6

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