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Deliver Us From Evil

Movie executives have often been compared to Satan, the Prince of Darkness.  Their peculiar creative decisions have seen many producing teams curse them for their devilish ways.  What cannot be denied is their ability to exploit profitable trends.  Since ‘The Exorcist’ head-spun its way to box office gold in 1973 anything involving Lucifer’s wicked manifestations has been gleefully put on screen.  ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is the latest with its atmospheric spookiness sure to scare the executive elite all the way to the bank.

 

New York cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is a lapsed Catholic disillusioned with religion.  Attempting to find new purpose his latest case tests his resolve.  Meeting Spanish priest Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), his former faith returns to haunt him.  Told a soldier, Santino (Sean Harris), is possessed by the devil, Ralph teams with the priest to eradicate the evil spirit.  With New York quickly turning into anarchy due to malevolent forces, time slowly runs out for the duo to combat a power beyond their imagining.

 

Allegedly based on true events ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ generally captivates.  Whilst one can take its true claims with a pinch of salt, the strong performances and story see it through.  The authenticity of the relationships between Ralph and his family and his confrontation of past regrets are often more compelling than the ensuing horror.  Bana has turned into a fine leading actor and effectively conveys the trauma his character witnesses.  Ramirez and the rest of his co-stars equally share the kudos in developing their roles.

 

Scott Derrickson’s direction is also worthy of attention.  Previously helming similar films such as ‘Sinister’, he brings his skills in crafting genuine scares.  Derrickson adds much tension to the expected pyrotechnics by allowing the mood to slowly percolate.  Even if the script occasionally walks a predictable trajectory, his directorial flourishes make you unsure where the story leads.  This hybrid of horror and mystery works and maintains interest until the end.

 

‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is an effective shocker.  Those sinister movie executives have it right this time with Satan’s latest cinematic appearance sure to linger long after his presence has vanished into darkness.

 

Rating out of 10:  7

Sex Tape

Modern technology can be a wonderful thing.  The speed with which messages and photos are delivered is often mind-boggling.  Sometimes such occurrences can be dangerous.  ‘Sex Tape’ shows just how awry today’s technological world can be.  Based on several infamous celebrity scandals, it serves as a comedic warning that for certain occasions a camera’s presence would be most unwise.

 

After a decade together, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) still love each other.  Parents to two children, despite their affection they feel the marital spice has gone walkabout.  Deciding to fix this by filming a sex tape, their very adult union ends up being leaked.  Becoming an internet sensation, they desperately try to retrieve the footage from the all-powerful Cloud network.  What follows is a series of mis-haps as their amorous coupling brings the joy to others they initially hoped to achieve for themselves.

 

‘Sex Tape’ makes a lot out of the chemistry of its leads.  Segel and Diaz make for a watchable duo as their characters attempt to right a very naughty wrong.  Most of the time it’s fun to watch with cameos by Rob Lowe and Jack Black adding some spark.  Unfortunately Jake Kasdan’s leaden direction drags the story.  Where more energy was needed it sags with the threadbare plot spread too thinly.  Another sub-plot or two could have beefed things up with certain sequences failing to reach their potential.

 

Despite its lurid title, ‘Sex Tape’ generally avoids diving into totally smutty territory.  It makes an attempt to be somewhat clever in creating laughs with the cast showing good comic timing.  A message about maintaining a relationships’ passion can be seen amidst the wicked carry-on.  This adds some substance to the silly script even if it doesn’t really engage as much as it should.

 

A fluffy movie ultimately reaching an unsatisfying climax, ‘Sex Tape’ is only modest fun.  Although more needed to be done with the material it serves as a warning that filming private encounters is something best to be avoided.

 

Rating out of 10:  5