Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
The Devil Inside | Suzan Crowley, Fernanda Andrade, Ionut Grama, Simon Quartermain, Evan Helmuth | Review
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 07 January 2012
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
The Devil Inside | Suzan Crowley | Fernanda Andrade | Ionut Grama | Simon Quartermain | Evan Helmuth | Review
This effective, documentary-style exorcism tale about a young woman’s quest to research the story behind her mother’s murderous rampage in 1989 is not, as they say, for younger or more sensitive viewers.
Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) investigates the 20-year-old murder case brought against her institutionalized mother Maria (Suzan Crowley) that resulted in the death of three clergy who were attempting an exorcism on the woman. Was Maria mentally ill or actually possessed by a demon?
Isabella, along with her cameraman Michael (Ionut Grama) travel to Rome to attend the Vatican’s classes on exorcism and meet two rogue priests (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) who agree to take Maria’s case even though they are not authorized to do so by the Church. The whole process is documented on video.
The two priests allow Isabella and David to accompany them to an actual exorcism, of a girl named Rosa (played by contortionist Bonnie Morgan), a harrowing experience that is ultimately successful, but has horrifying effects on all four of the group.
Maria’s exorcism has its own set of frightening challenges. Unpredictable and violent, even when drugged, Maria develops superhuman strength and hints at multiple demons within her tormented body. The team quickly finds that it’s outnumbered by the most powerful force it will ever encounter.
Scenes can be disturbing and vulgar, and there’s one at a baptism that made the audience shout out in collective panic. Not for the squeamish, it will give horror fans the adrenaline-filled shudder they crave from such films.
Yes, it’s got plot holes large enough for an army of Christian soldiers to march through, but a suspension of disbelief here will get you some unnerving suspense. It’s also predictable but manages to scare up some chills, pun intended.
Suzan Crowley gives a creepy, convincing performance as the dangerously disturbed Maria who carves inverted crosses on her arms and as you can see from the promotional poster, the inside of her lip. Likewise, Bonnie Morgan uses her ability to twist herself into a knot to make Rosa’s torment all the more palpable.
Fernanda Andrade is a competent and sincere Isabella, with Grama, Quarterman and Helmuth all turning in believable portrayals of men caught up in the contradictions of science and religion, technology and faith.
Director William Brent Bell (Stay Alive) uses the pseudo-documentary aspects of the film (shaky, moving camera shots, power failures, eerie night vision images) to enhance the creepiness of the unknown for the viewer.
The ending, however, is rather abrupt and unsatisfying, tying together all of the mayhem with a sudden and disappointing development that could leave some feeling shortchanged. Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity have done the “found footage” gimmick before so it breaks very little new ground.
Now bones, that’s a different matter.