Thursday, January 30, 2014

Devils Due (2014)

Title: Devils Due (2014)

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillet

Stars: Allison Miller, Zach Gilford

I thought it was kind of hilarious that just before watching Devils Due, they played the trailer for the new Jesus-centric fantasy film called Son of God (2014) because here I was about to watch a film about the anti-Christ! Suddenly I felt bombarded by a bunch of Christian propaganda! An overdose of direct and indirect cinematic indoctrination!  And yes, if you ask me, that is how I see a lot of these Christian based horror movies, as a way to spread the fear instilled by religion. But whatever, I enjoy a good horror movie, be it based on Christian mythology or not. It kind of works the same way for me with films like The Passion of the Christ (2004) and Noah (2014), I’ll watch them even though I’m not a Christian because they are entertaining; at the end of the day, all that matters to me is if it’s a good movie or not. So, was Devils Due a good movie?

Devils Due tells the tale of a newlywed couple that decides to go to Santo Domingo for their honeymoon.  The husband is the kind of guy who likes to film every waking moment of his life, his wife tolerates it, so he carries the camera all throughout the film. So anyhow, as they visit a couple of tourist attractions in the island, they suddenly end up in a shady part of town, lost in the middle of the night in the lonely streets of Santo Domingo; lucky for them a kind taxi driver rescues them! Not only that, he offers to take them to a fun part of town, which he does. They end up in a seedy bar getting all drunk! When they get back home from their vacations, they suddenly realize that they are going to have a baby! But strange things begin to occur and it isn’t long before the mother starts feeling like there’s something wrong with her pregnancy, like satanic wrong. Is she pregnant with Satan’s child or what?

Found footage films are simply another way of telling a story, so I don’t bitch and moan about them like a lot of people do; these films are simply a spawn of the digital age we live in, the video age. Actually, by now these types of films are pretty common place; they aren't going away. Hollywood loves them because they are cheap to make and audiences love them because they can identify with the style, because it looks like they could’ve shot the movie themselves.  Personally, I dig them because they have an immediacy to them; but I do have to say that whichever filmmaker chooses to make his or her film in this style has a challenge because these films have been done to death. When making a found footage film, the filmmaker has to come up with innovative ways to keep our interest. Devils Due unfortunately has very little in the way of originality.

Now this is not to say that it’s a bad movie, I actually dug the movie a whole lot. Technically speaking the movie is good, the way it was shot and the whole found footage thing works great because I felt so much closer to the crazy Satanists. And speaking of Satanists, this movie did a very smart thing with its depiction of them. It kept them in the shadows! Which of course made them a heck of a lot scarier; if there’s one thing I hate about movies dealing with Satanists is how silly they always appear. Not on Devils Due; on this movie they creeped me the hell out! Another positive aspect of the film is that the performances were solid; both of the main characters were portrayed convincingly by Allison Miller and Zach Gilford; so kudos to all the actors involved in keeping this one genuine and decidedly credible.

Where the film comes down a couple of notches is in the originality department. For a seasoned movie buff like myself, this film plays out like a remake of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Omen (1976) mixed in with a little Paranormal Activity (2007) to keep things contemporary. The real problem is that the film has so many clichés that you can practically predict certain moments and even certain scares. It’s not a good thing when you know what’s going to happen in a horror movie, or when you can predict a shot. And still, I found myself enjoying the film. I guess they found an interesting way to tell us a story we’ve already seen a thousand times before. If I was to mention one more movie that this film is similar to it would have to be The Last Exorcism (2010), which I dug as well. But fear not, even with the similarities it shares with all these other movies, Devils Due does have a couple of original moments in there to keep your interest. The last few minutes were very gripping. In all honesty, I believe that these types of horror films are worn out; the whole supernatural/Satanist shenanigans should be given a rest for a while! There’s been an overdose of these lately! I could formulate a whole list of films that are the same as Devils Due. So yeah, this theme has been played out and until something new and refreshing can be thought up, I suggest Hollywood to leave these alone for a while. But of course, since these movies always make their money back because they are so cheap to make, I guess we’ll keep on seeing them until you, the audience says no more. So what’ll it be people?  

Rating: 3 out of 5 



venoms5 said...

I've been meaning to see this, Fran. Hopefully this weekend or first of next week. IT kind of snuck up on me as I wasn't aware it was out till the weekend after it premiered.

And judging from your write up, it sounds interesting!

Franco Macabro said...

Yeah, a well filmed and acted clicheish satanic flick, nothing new, but well told. Hope you like it Venom5.


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