It was not until I started watching The Devil Inside that I realised that it was yet another one of those documentary-style horrors – a filmmaking tool which has been worn a little thin after so many versions. Although, I suppose this style has not been seen in an exorcism movie before, so there is a little originality present. This film wasn’t as bad as a lot of people were making it out to be, the only main criticism of it is the last couple of minutes. The entire film was spent building up to the climax, and then everything just started happening so abruptly and in the blink of an eye it was over, as if the director (William Brent Bell, who also made the horror film Stay Alive) just ran out of time or something. The plot ot this one is not too dissimilar from every other exorcism film out there, as it is basically just about a woman who is possessed and kills some people, before being declared ‘insane’ and getting locked up. Her daughter then investigates the story behind her mother’s behaviour, eventually leading her to the conclusion of an exorcism. But the difference in this film is that the successful exorcism is not the end of this story…
I thought that The Devil Inside ended up being quite predictable, although perhaps this is through having watched so many of these kinds of films before. Before the film arrives at its halfway point, the ending is already apparent. This is an important problem with all of those handheld horror films – essentially, there is only one way for them to end. It is interesting to note here that this film reached the top of the US box office in its opening weekend, but proceeded to fall dramatically to outside of the top ten within a couple of weeks (although, the film did actually turn out to be a fairly good success, financially speaking). I think that this is evidence in itself for the lack of repeatability that this film has, at once the veil of secrecy in front has been lifted, there is nothing left but a rather average movie. Forgettable, some might even say – and this is pretty much the worst situation a film can be in as it causes no reaction at all amongst audiences. I know when I find it hard to write a review for a film, that it can’t have been all that exciting or noteworthy, even The Human Centipede was better at provoking a conversation!
It’s fuuny to understand that the main reason that this film has been so hated by film viewers is not so much the ending, as the damn title card which appears after the last shot of the movie which states something along the lines of ‘The facts of the Rossi case have never been fully established, check TheRossiFile.com to follow the continuing investigation’ – note the pun I attempted for the title of this article! This meant that people felt cheated, thinking that they had to basically visit this website in order to see ‘the ending of the movie’. Don’t worry folks, I have taken it upon myself to look into this website, seeing what insights I can glean from it and have come to one conclusion – there is nothing of importance on there, simply marketing material which is usually used before a film is released, as a promotional tool. But what the filmmakers have failed to understand here is that most people want to consume the entire story in one sitting, rather than having to go all around the houses to get to it – it is almost like a contract between producer and viewer, which causes alarming hostility when this contract gets broken. Even more frustrating is the fact that in an interview with the director, he claimed that originally there was more that happened (with regards to the ending) but it was decided to do something a little more bold. Nice one.
A good thing within The Devil Inside though, is how they explored more about the religious community and how they view the idea of exorcism, as even they are torn about it (especially in today’s society). One of the film’s bold opening statements informs us that ‘the Vatican does not approve of this film’ which helps to add a sense of realism and drama to the whole affair. This is also something which The Rite looked into, and I believe that they were more successful in this. But The Devil Inside did have a much smaller budget, so I suppose that it has all worked out fairly.
To sum up, The Devil Inside is not all that scary a watch – and quite frankly, not all that great a watch, really. If there’s nothing else going, then by all means give it a go, but I definitely would not recommend it as being on top of the viewing pile. It’s one of those films which people watch when there are no other films available, and it’s not a very long one so it won’t eat into one’s day which is definitely a plus, in my opinion!