Deliver us from Devil: Cross Connection

Deliver us from Devil  

In the process of cracking some macabre crimes a non-believer cop’s convictions are challenged. This is the basic premise of Scott Derrickson’s latest tale set in New York. ‘Inspired by true events’, it seems eager to take the devil to the torture room of a police station and have a one-to-one session of exorcism.

From surveying basements, stumbling into a decaying corpse and a crying cat to cracking Latin codes, it goes into all the predictable crevices where the horror genre usually flourishes. It evokes the sounds and spirits that the genre relies on but Derrickson has a knack for generating atmospherics and startling without warning and here again he shows that the devil is in the details. The cockroaches and cats do conjure up ominous signs in the urban space. The sound and fury at the city zoo make you shift in the seat. And in Eric Bana and Sean Harris he has actors who make the hocus pocus template believable. Harris as the face of the evil fills you with the fear of the unknown until Derrickson goes for the overkill.

Bana plays real life cop Ralph Sarchie, who gives preference to his job over his family commitments, with the seriousness of a Shakespearean character. A series of ghoulish events unsettles the hard nut. A kid’s body is found in the garbage dump, a mother throws her baby to the lions in the city zoo, a seemingly simple case of domestic violence that turns out to be much more sinister…as Sarchie digs, he finds a connection in these seemingly disparate cases.

Deliver us from Devil

Genre: Horror

Cast: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Sean Harris, Olivia Munn, Joel Mchale

Director: Scott Derrickson

The men involved in each of these cases were soldiers, who had served in Iraq. At the same time he starts getting a sense that somebody is out there to throw his personal life off balance. With his wife (Olivia Munn makes a stereotype look gorgeous) pregnant and his kid in danger of being spooked, Sarchie increasingly gets drained by the situation.

He is joined by a renegade priest (Edgar Ramirez shines in a predictable role) to make him look beyond the obvious. True to the genre, Sarchie refuses to see the other-worldly presence around him only to atone later. It is a predictable ploy but Derrickson imparts a degree of empathy to the mind games that he plays with Sarchie and us.

Bana is in good form and every now and then the writers threaten to break the tropes but ultimately they return to the good old safety net of exorcism. An hour into the film and the ‘inspired by true events’ trick begins to lose it potency and the dialogues become increasingly ordinary. The suggestion that the soldiers got possessed while serving in the Middle East and the American goodness has to salvage them from Satan gives jeepers to sanity but overall it is a hair-raising experience.

Bottomline: Repetitive and unoriginal but keeps you on tenterhooks for the most part.

Read >Venky Vembu's review of Deliver Us From Evil.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 7:30:15 AM |

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