Wednesday, January 30, 2013

REVIEW: V/H/S (2012)

Found footage movies are really something these days – pretty much, they’ve morphed into their own genre. With Blair Witch Project being a cultural phenomenon but in actuality a boring, dull movie, and its next-generation spawn Paranormal Activity being along the same lines, it’s surprising that the genre has produced such good works in other, less known capacities. First there was [REC], and then Grave Encounters, and now this, perhaps the best of them all. Ladies and gents, I am talking about V/H/S.

Directors: Various
Starring: Video tapes, static, annoying douchebag criminals, cameras

Aside from being annoying to type out because of those dashes in the title – WHITE PEOPLE PROBLEMS! – this is one of the best horror movies of recent times, with strong directing, strong writing and a hell of an intuition to scare its audience. V/H/S is just totally Satanic, gleeful fun, and while I could just espouse more words to tell you how awesome it is, it’d be more fun to just watch the thing again and take you all on a tour…OF HELL!

So we start off with some assholes…being assholes. They go around and lift up girls’ shirts and get paid for it on the Internet. What a bunch of wastes of air. They get hired to go into this house and steal a video tape, and they get mad when it’s not in the cupboard in the kitchen, which is obviously the first place to look for a video tape:

"I always keep video tapes in the cupboard! It's not weird!!!"

Then they come across a dead guy in a chair surrounded by video tapes, and they decide to sit down and watch the videos, because that’s a good idea. Don’t these morons get enough cash from their, ahem, titillating videos online that they wouldn’t need to do a job where a dead guy is sitting around? I guess not.

Anyway, we then get the first story, told rather brilliantly from a camera embedded in a pair of glasses. It’s about a bunch of idiots going out to pick up chicks at a bar. They’re driving along and they talk about how much they really want to talk to some girls tonight. That’s right – talk to them. Not have sex with them, or even make out with them…talk to them. Conversation, ohhhhh yeah…that’s some steamy stuff going on there!

They get kicked out eventually and go back to their hotel room with two girls, one of whom looks like Emma Stone and the other like an anorexic Helena Bonham Carter on meth. At least we can’t say they don’t try to get some variety…instead of just filming these girls for an Internet show, though, they try to have sex with them! Except one of them, the Emma Stone chick, just passes out. The other one turns into a vampire and devours them all! Always a mood killer when you’re trying to get laid.

Well, you can't deny, they got what they came for...and a whole lot more...

The main guy runs out and tries to get help, but gets mauled by the crazy vampire chick, who now looks like she spent waaaay too much time at a GWAR concert:

Then the guy tries to run outside after the girl starts weeping in the corner, and tries to get help. For some reason, nobody does. So he runs across the pavement and the vampire chick flies out and grabs him, presumably taking him off to have a nice, ahem, conversation somewhere…and that’s the end of the story.

And it was awesome. This story perfectly captured the feel of a loud, claustrophobic, intoxicated night, and the characters, silly and immature as they were, got what was coming to them for it. The acting was great and the snappy, aggressive pacing just went straight for the throat. How can any fan of horror argue with stuff like this? And, hell, this wasn’t even the best story V/H/S has to offer…let us continue our journey into the strange, depraved recesses that V/H/S wants to show us.

The second story is set in Arizona! We follow a likable young woman and her likable fiancé as they go on a road trip through Arizona, hitting all the tourist destinations like the Grand Canyon as well as the Old Wild West. Most of the story, though, is set in their motel room. Hmm, a horror story that builds atmosphere with likable, realistic characters and a slow pace? Why does that sound familiar…

That’s right, it’s a Ti West story. So expect lots of semi-cutesy romantic moments broken up with realistic couple bantering and lots of petty drama, before the eventual payoff of a great horror twist at the end. Fortunately…I really like this formula, and this might be my favorite Ti West directed film yet, actually. The setting is cool and the characters are really well done, being simple enough to work in a short film setting, but still with enough layers and hints of depth to make them interesting to watch. The pace is excellent, and shows Ti West is really getting a style down, with a hell of an attention to detail and atmosphere. The acting is also very well done.

The end of the story comes so fast you barely even see it coming – basically what happens is, the mysterious stranger who showed up at the couples’ door the previous night comes back and slits the guy’s throat. The girl, as it so happens, was conspiring with this mysterious stranger, who apparently she had a relationship with in the past. The story ends with her saying, frantic and rushed, “Did you get rid of [the video]?”

"Did you make sure to show the audience that shocking footage to explain everything? Good."

That is friggin’ cool, and a twist nobody would have seen coming. Hats off – this might be my favorite story in the compilation, but there are still more to come!

The next story is about some kids going out to a cabin in the woods to reenact a Friday the 13th film. How retro of them. The group consists of a kinda normal guy, a kinda normal girl, a slutty girl and a nerdy guy. Never seen that combination before, have you? Fortunately, like everything else in V/H/S this is actually done competently, with some really good actors who make the characters work. They’re not that likable or anything, but they’re realistic, and they pretty much get the job done.

They go out in the woods and do the things that dumb kids always do in movies like this – they jump in the water naked and smoke pot for about two seconds. In true 80s fashion, the one nerdy guy even goes on a whole anti-drug rant that’s frankly pretty hilarious. But the odd thing is that the one normal girl, who drove them all there, keeps stopping them to look at places where she says her friends got hurt. And at one point, while everyone else is walking ahead, she turns around and actually says, “You’re all gonna fuckin’ die out here!”

Pretty odd thing to say…especially if she’s trying to make sure they DON’T get suspicious. And who wouldn’t, when in the forest lies a red-faced man who is invisible except through the glitches in a video camera?!

When you see'll see it...

That’s a frigging AWESOME concept. And the movie does well by it, as we see everyone get killed off bloodily and in true slasher horror fashion, probably the best slasher stuff since Hatchet, easily. Gleefully, bloodily evil and lewd. The one surviving girl sets up traps for him, and it appears she catches him…

…but then we get backhanded by one of the most cold, brutal endings in a horror film lately. Just chilling.

Oh, the next story is really something…this one is about a couple who live far away from each other and chat via webcam all the time. The guy looks bored all the time and the girl is, well…a complete idiot, for reasons you’re about to see. It’s revealed that there’s a weird bruise on the girl’s arm, and that she sometimes hears ghosts in her apartment. The guy reacts to this with a perfect monotone expression:

"Hmm...round, symmetrical and proportionate. Your boobs get an 8.5/10."

Amazing how invested he is!

We find out that apparently, rather than going to a hospital, this girl responds to a weird bruise on her arm by cutting into her arm with a knife:

Isn’t that just perfectly sane? No, really. I’m convinced now – this chick is just nuts. She clearly needs to be admitted to a mental hospital. That vacant, bright eyed look in her eyes while she’s holding up the knife is just scary more than anything; even scarier than the ghost in this story! God damn, is this nuts. And, what, her plan is to close her eyes, carry her laptop around and have the boyfriend tell her if he sees a ghost, so SHE can talk to it and “find out if it wants her to find its body or something,” as she puts it? That’s so stupid you could see it from space. I love that bit about finding out if the ghost wants her to find its body. That’s just a great mental picture, isn’t it? “The adventure of the crazy knife-wielding webcam girl to find the ghost’s body! Starring Lindsay Lohan.”

OK, OK, so she goes and hunts some ghosts until one of them shines a bright Men in Black-esque light in her face, and then she passes out. It’s revealed that apparently, the boyfriend was in the same building the whole time, as he comes down and cuts a strange fetus-like alien out of her – what a nice guy!

So, what, these two NEVER ran into one another outside, if he really lived that close? I don’t buy that. There was never any instance in their conversation where it seemed implausible or unlikely that the boyfriend was far away? Boy, the levels of total implausibility are just stunning me!

And, what, that stupid ghost is like, his sidekick or something? That’s hilarious. The magical abortion doctor, who travels the world with his ghost buddies and his trusty webcam, ready to save the women of the world from demonic babies AAAAAAAAND getting to see their tits as a bonus!

"Now now, move your arm or I won't be able to judge for the boob judging contest! Because I'm a creep-o!"

That’s right. He’s just a pervert this whole time. That’s the big plot twist with this story – the guy has more than one girl he’s doing this to. Well, we should praise this individual for standing up for our right to…to have abortions? No. Definitely not going there. Next story!

The last story is about a bunch of guys on Halloween, and with costumes like this:

…you know it’s gonna be good!

They go to some haunted house party and find that they truly know how to pick ‘em when the whole house is totally empty and vacant of anyone at all. They wander around for a bit and goof off, and it’s all pretty well and good, until they find a cult in the basement trying to sacrifice some poor girl tied between two poles, like King Kong replicated in a suburban basement. Only instead of a giant ape, these guys are trying to appease a house full of angry ghosts!

The Attack of the Killer month on SyFy!

They escape, taking the girl with them, only she turns out to be a bad omen when she lures the angry spirits right to them! They stop on some train tracks and, even though the guy driving tries his best, they end up stuck and a train runs them over. And the other guys in the car all die thinking that their buddy driving was actually a murderous asshole trying to kill them all by not moving out of the way of a moving train.

"Can I take a moment of your time to talk about Our Lord and Savior?"


So that’s V/H/S, and boy, is it awesome – this has got to be the best horror movie of 2012, and maybe of 2011 as well. I especially love how creative this is in delivering its stories. Far from just giving us pandering jump scare moments, this invents clever new ways to shoe in a camera to tell the story every time. The first story had that kid with the camera in his glasses, the second was a couple taking a vacation and filming it, in the third, you could only see the killer if you had a camera, the fourth had webcams and the fifth had a camera built into the guy’s Halloween costume.

Those are all really good, inventive ways to tell a horror story, and after all, we do live in the age where horror is about firsthand experience, about imagining the fear literally through another person’s eyes rather than a detached view like the classic stories. There have been bumps on the road, but with fierce conviction, excellent acting and creative storytelling, V/H/S has delivered a bloody, screaming good time of a horror movie. Go see it.

Images used here are not mine, they are copyright of their original owners.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Best Movies of 2012

Now we come to our final countdown, the best movies of the year - or rather, at least what I thought were the best. Of course opinions will be divided, but to hell with it, I'm here to force mine down your throats!


11. Lincoln

Steven Spielberg’s biopic on Abraham Lincoln is a monument of stately, comfortable filmmaking from one of the masters of the business. Everything about this is well-made, polished to a professional sheen that does justice to this great man and really brings him to life on screen for the first time ever. This is a long movie, but it’s incredibly lavish and detailed, with that classic Spielbergian charm that shows he is still the master of thoughtful, uplifting cinema. Daniel Day Lewis is fantastic as Lincoln and the story, about the passage of the 13th amendment, is carried with maturity. The portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln is also very much worth noting.

10. ParaNorman

Children’s’ movies might get a bad rap, but that’s slowly changing with movies like UP, Ratatouille, How to Train Your Dragon and now ParaNorman. The story is pretty basic, just a tale about a kid who can see ghosts who gets called to save the town from a witch, but basic is the way to go sometimes, and ParaNorman is great because it has well written characters who play off each other quite nicely, stunning visuals (though this is the norm for movies today) and subtle, flowing messages that can resonate with children as well as adults. A clever, deft and energized romp that should not be missed.

9. Dredd

Great action movies are almost as hard to come by as great horror movies these days. Dredd is a great action movie, in the style of Die Hard and Terminator if they were done up in a 2010s style. I’ve never read any of the comics about Judge Dredd, but this movie explodes with huge action scenes, delicious gore and a rocket-speed pace that doesn’t let up. It’s got a cool setting, cool villains and doesn’t pull any punches. This movie is like a metal-plated fist to your gut.

8. Killer Joe

This is the most irreverent movie of the year with how outrageous and indecent it is, and Matthew McConaughey delivers as the titular character with one of my favorite performances all year – he is possessed with a manic, quick-witted furor that almost carries the whole movie on its own, if not for standout performances from Emile Hirsch and Thomas Haden Church, too. This is a bloody good time of a movie that speeds through its runtime like a coked up Hell’s Angel with an attitude problem, unraveling a story of betrayal and greed without any sugar coating. Killer Joe revels in its unholiness and I love it for that very lack of restraint.

7. V/H/S

The best horror movie of the year, and an almost revolutionary experience compared to the sad sacks at attempts the last few years have given us. V/H/S’s strength lies in absolutely genius scares and inventive storytelling. It’s a found footage film that actually uses that to its advantage with some creative framing – a family vacation tape and a webcam chat log – and, here’s a shocker – no obvious jump scares! Yes, instead we get brilliant storytelling that unravels itself in short, sweet bursts of sheer gleeful evil and mayhem; stories that set up their atmospheres and settings quick and then deliver a hell of a punchline with great end twists and fascinatingly gruesome concepts. This is seriously awesome, and horror devotees who love the genre for its imagination will find much to love here.

6. Wreck-It Ralph

A sheer joy to behold, Wreck-It Ralph is the best children’s movie I’ve seen in a long time, hearkening back to the kind of grace and power that 2009’s UP possessed in spades. The key to making a great kids’ film is making sure you tell a great story first and then make it kid-friendly second. And Wreck-It Ralph is good at that because it has hugely memorable characters, a great setting – seriously, arcade games! That’s so cool I’d give it a good rating even if the movie was lame. And a tight, fast-paced, electrically charged plot that never stops moving and is constantly inventive and clever. There are laughs to be had, there are emotive moments and there are fist-pumping action and car chase scenes. Wreck-It Ralph is a treasure of a film.

5. The Avengers

Joss Whedon is one of the best storytellers of our generation, weaving Shakespearean drama with modern sci-fi intrigue, explosive action and even some wry comedy here and there. The Avengers is his new big-screen blockbuster, the big movie that every superhero fan was waiting for, and it’s pretty much the summer blockbuster to end all summer blockbusters. Huge, sweeping action scenes are really only icing on the cake of the characters themselves, who are acted brilliantly and written brilliantly, with Whedon’s strong writing tying together a series of films dating back five years. Important for how conceptually brilliant it is, but also incredibly entertaining, and one of the more satisfying movies of the year. A mighty thunderbolt of a film, down from the heavens.

4. The Amazing Spider-Man

I love Spider-Man and have since I was really young, and this was a revolution for me because it proved we could have a really, really good Spider-Man movie. Not that the Raimi stuff was bad, but Marc Webb’s reboot is just so much better in every way. Everything about this is just grade-A stuff and flows like a charm. This is really Andrew Garfield’s movie as he proves he is a dynamite actor, with a ton of range and bursting emotional power, too. Emma Stone as well delivers maybe my favorite performance of hers yet. The action kicks ass and the story has emotional power and can resonate with audiences today just as well as the original comic book could back in the 60s, with the updates made and the clever, snappy directing. This is a smooth, well put together film that I will never tire of watching.

3. The Hunger Games

This was a real surprise for me, because I thought the first book of the series was good, not great – I really didn’t expect much from this movie. I mean, how many times has a YA book series actually produced something meaningful to cinema? Well, this is my mea culpa – The Hunger Games is a big, sweeping and epic hammer of a film that completely washes over you in waves with how much is going on, submerging the audience in the world entirely. You will feel every chaotic action scene rattle in your bones and the world the movie creates will seem as real as your own every day life, and twice as terrifying. First rate acting from Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson only adds to the vitality and strength this movie has in spades. Truly a story more meant to be seen than read, The Hunger Games is one of the best movies of the year.

2. Chronicle

I knew nothing about this movie when I went into the theater, and it floored me. A powerful, individual tale of three young men in the suburbs who come across a mysterious rock in the ground that gives them superpowers – only for one of them, with an unstable family life, to start losing his mind and using the power for criminal means. The three lead actors are all really great and sell their characters superbly – I fully believed they were who they said they were. The story is a very compelling take on troubled teenagers and the sci-fi twist makes this probably the most original film I saw all year. For its depiction of the unfortunate marginalized kids who just can’t get anywhere even despite their efforts, Chronicle is a powerful film that you shouldn’t miss. Essential.

1. Moonrise Kingdom

I never expected to love a Wes Anderson film, but here it is anyway – Moonrise Kingdom. This is just a lovely movie, with charm, grace and power, as well as a wry, fine-tuned dry sense of humor. There’s so much going on here that it’s too much to comprehend on one viewing alone, but at its core this is a love story, and one of the best love stories, in any medium, I have witnessed in a long time. The thing is that Moonrise Kingdom is not just a love story about two kids getting together, but about family in general – about the ties that bind us together and the fissures that break us apart, and about solace found in unexpected places. With a powerful story told by first rate actors all around, this is funny and romantic and everything in between all at once, integrating everything into a melting pot so well that you stop picking apart the different aspects and just accept it as it is: a force to be reckoned with. And for all the estranged and the lonely out there, this is a light in the dark. Magisterial, unforgettable and powerful.

Images copyright of their original owners.

The Worst Movies of 2012

Okay, so this is going to be the two-part '2012 in Review' for movies...I'm going to start with what I didn't like. Surprised? More accurately, what I'll be starting with is the 'disappointments' section - i.e. not the worst movies I saw all year or even necessarily terrible, but simply the ones that built up the most hype and weren't nearly as good as I wanted them to be. Oh, how cruel the cinema gods can be. Here they are, in no real order:


The Dark Knight Rises

This is something I’ve been waiting to see for like, four years since the excellent The Dark Knight blew open the gates back in 2008. Christopher Nolan has been getting bigger and bigger over the years, and I really think it’s gotten to his head with The Dark Knight Rises – while previous films of his were accessible while still providing thought provoking themes and intelligent writing, The Dark Knight Rises finally sees Nolan crumbling under the weight of his own ego with a lot of style but very little substance. There is just so much going on in this movie that it’s impossible at first to catch any kind of meaning or coherent themes, but about halfway through you realize that there really isn’t anything worthwhile. The themes in this are rehashed and not very well thought out, and the movie just doesn’t have the same kind of intelligent writing as the previous two. The action is sometimes pretty decent, and there are some very good scenes here and there, but overall the plot is ludicrous and the film overall is generic and shallow, far beneath the best that Nolan can give us.


Another one that got a lot of hype. I was skeptical because, well, Ridley Scott made Hannibal a few years back and that is one of my least favorite films of all time. And likewise, I wasn’t exactly disappointed with this, because Prometheus overall isn’t that good. But it starts out with a lot of promise, and has some fascinating concepts set up – however, the film does not DO anything with these concepts. Halfway through the film, any pretense of intelligence is dropped in favor of pretty standard sci fi action cliches and storytelling tropes that don’t really set up any drama or tension. It’s boring, it’s silly, it’s over-long…it’s just not a good film.


I like Looper better than the other two movies on this list, but I was really looking forward to this and figured it would be the sci-fi action movie to beat this year – I was wrong. While this is pretty good, and has a neat concept behind it, as well as a cool atmosphere and some good action here and there…it’s just not great. It drags on too long, the pace is disjointed and sluggish and neither Bruce Willis nor Joseph Gordon-Levitt really gives a great, captivating performance like I know they’re capable of – they both seem subdued, actually. This is entertaining enough, but not as good as I wanted it to be.


And now, without further ado...the worst, most despicable, poorly written, poorly directed and hateable movies I saw in 2012! Counting down from #5 to #1...


5. The Words

Sappy melodrama with absolutely no basis in reality. I did not believe a minute of this; not the characters, their reactions to situations or the situation itself, and the bizarrely disjointed pacing and boring dialogue didn’t help either. Just a weak, weak movie and I’m not really sure what the intended audience was supposed to be. Skip it.

4. Silent House

Awful crap, but at least it isn’t just tired and rehashed like the other two horror movies on this list – no, Silent House finds new ways to be horrible, such as camera work so bad it makes most found-footage movies look like they were shot by Spielberg, and this isn’t even a found footage movie at all, which is almost as hilarious as it is sad. And a needlessly garish plot thread about incest near the end, dumped on you with as much finesse as an elephant trying to fit its way into a small trailer. Silent House is a dubious and tasteless movie that I would not recommend to anyone.

3. The Possession

This is a terrible film without anything recommendable about it, from the rehashed and tired storyline to the awful acting from pretty much everyone in the film to the horrible characters, who are about as likable as toe mold. The Possession is pretty much as vapid and thoughtless a film as you can get unless you’re…well, the two films above it on my “worst of” list, which are…

2. The Devil Inside

I already went on a rant about this one in my review, but seriously, it’s bad. Everyone in the world has tried their hand at a ‘demonic possession’ film in the last few years and this is the worst one I have ever seen. Back when Exorcism of Emily Rose came out in like 2005, this kind of thing was still a little interesting, but a movie like The Devil Inside has no place existing in 2013. Or ever, in any reality, at all, for that matter. Throw this in the incinerator and forget all about it.

1. Cloud Atlas

I haven’t walked out of a movie this angry since Edge of Darkness a few years back. Cloud Atlas is a nadir of sorts; a miracle of insipidly bad Hallmark cards set to a mind-numbing three-hour runtime that will make you want to commit mass genocide once it’s over. This is so preachy, so pretentious, so full of itself and so obsessed with its own holier-than-thou goodness…that I literally can’t even describe it in words to you and convey exactly how sappy, poorly written and embarrassingly sentimental this is. The fact that it has seven or eight different, poorly written stories going on is bad, and the fact that all of them amount to the insultingly simplistic and patronizing message of “stand up against oppression” is worse, but really what it comes down to is the whole picture – the fact that so much money, so many good actors, so many special effects and studio tricks, went into producing those two aspects – that seals the deal. Cloud Atlas, you are the worst movie of the year.

Images copyright of their original owners.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

REVIEW: The Devil Inside (2012)

Have we no shame as a culture? Have we no decisive judgment to tell us that maybe, just maybe, it’s better to just NOT make a movie sometimes? Freedom of expression is well and good, but just because some hack has an idea to make a movie…doesn’t mean any such movie has to be made. I know that seems harsh, but honestly, just honestly, would the world have been a worse off place without the spawn of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Paranormal Activity?

It’s not even like any real creative expression is coming out in stuff like this…everything we see nowadays is all found-footage garbage about exorcisms and demons inside people. Is that really the sum of society’s fears, in this age where we can look up anything online and find out the facts of whatever scares us? I really don’t buy that. We have access to so many new, horrific ideas with our newfound technology, so many sources of inspiration for filmmakers to draw from, such as the depths of the ocean, the furthest reaches of space and the strange animals, climates and mental maladies that populate our own Earth…and we keep making religious possession movies with the same old themes over and over, until our brains leak out our ears, like The Devil Inside!

Director: William Brent Bell
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, THE DEVIL

Holy Christ this is the limits. Let’s start with a hypothetical example to illustrate the worth of this film, to show you what exactly you’re getting into when you watch this: You take every awful cliché, every poor story-writing choice that plagues horror films these days, jot down a script, and then decided it was too horrible to conceive and threw it away. Your script is discovered by The Asylum and given the poorly-produced, poorly-acted, poorly-directed treatment they think makes for good cinema…well, your hypothetical bad horror movie is still better than The Devil Inside.

Let’s just get started…we kick off with some police footage of a bunch of murders in a house. This is pretty much the only redeeming scene in the film as it builds up some suspense and generally works as a good starting point for a horror film. It also is the only scene where the poor production values are actually believable.

Wow, what a horrible sight to behold....did they buy this camera at a garage sale in the 70s or something?! I guess this scene is supposed to be set back in the 80s or whatever, but the camera quality doesn't change much when we get to yes, I guess they did just buy that camera at a garage sale somewhere.

After that the film just jumps off a cliff. We are introduced to the main character, Isabella, played by Fernanda Andrade…Fernanda, I am sure you’re a very nice person in real life, but really, I don’t have anything good to say about your acting in this. It’s probably not even your fault…it’s probably some Hollywood studio that just really needed to make a buck or two. How’s that workin’ out for ya, Hollywood? Either that or a cave dweller who hasn’t kept up with the fact that everyone and their grandma has made a movie exactly like this in the last three years.

Anyway, this girl is just unlikable from the start…the first thing she says is, her mom used to be a nice person. Nice sentiment but…right after a scene where we see the people she murdered? Kinda mismatched there, movie!

Yeah, that is a pretty horrible looking, nasty looking green puppet...the state of puppetry in 1989 is definitely enough to give a little girl such a sad face. I totally get this movie now.

So of course this girl has the money to go to Italy right in her pocket, as all twenty-somethings do, so off she goes! She takes some other doofus with her, because the movie needs someone to hold the camera…wonderful…they meet with a few priests, who start blabbing on camera about exorcisms and possessions and stuff, without actually asking what she’s filming for. It’s just like, “Oh, hey, we’ll totally just talk to you and tell you whatever you want……..hey, what is this for again? It’s for a court case brought against the church? OK, cool; didn’t want those jobs we had anyway!” Pfft.

I don’t even get these priest guys either. They say there’s really no such thing as exorcisms until Isabella tells them that her mother was possessed…”there’s no such things as exorcisms, except those exorcisms we conveniently forgot to tell you about in the last scene.” Next!

"Hey, I look constipated all the time! I can't wait to get possessed later and blow my own brains out! BRAINSSSSS! SPOILERSSSSSS!"

That’s a minor niggle, sure, but it’s symbolic of the brainlessness which plagues this film…for instance, I know it’s commonplace now to have these stupid camera movies make up excuses to get the camera filming everything no matter how implausible it would be in real life. I get that. But this…it doesn’t even try! Literally it just doesn’t even bother making excuses half the time. Like this scene, where they go to see the mother for the first time – oh yeah, they’d totally let you take a video camera into a mental asylum to see a patient who was known for having violent outbursts. That happens every day.

I also love how they say the mother is averse to anything religious and that the characters shouldn’t mention God or anything around her. Firstly, what, is the hospital under the impression that these people are a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses going around with a video camera and trying to convert asylum patients to the word of Christ? Secondly, right after saying that, we see they have brilliantly allowed the mother to have inverted crosses on the walls and carved into her skin even!

Wouldn’t it make sense to, I dunno, take away any means she has of making these images, if they are the only things that set off her crazy-meters? Maybe I just don’t get the complex inner workings of a mental hospital…or maybe this is the kind of place that would also allow savage murderers access to knives as well as information on where the security guards and their families live, with unlimited yard time and access to the public transit system to boot. Makes sense!

The mother is a piece of work, too; completely nuts, but that would happen to anyone who watched The Exorcist enough times and memorized Linda Blair’s performance down to the letter. I mean, you gotta have some variation. At least watch some Paul Newman movies, or maybe Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter if you want some inspiration…anything besides the super-generic ‘tell you something awful about yourself that nobody knows’ stuff we get here.

Oh, the main character had an abortion because she couldn’t carry the baby safely to term? The horror! It would be marginally dramatic, maybe, if she showed any reaction to it, but the character is completely soulless and never even reacts at all…yeah, great drama, movie. Great drama. So was the mother just going to sit around and be docile in a mental ward for the rest of her life if these morons didn’t come in and start doing this shit? Way to have a self-fulfilling prophecy, movie – I’m so invested I never want to watch anything else again!

The last sentence was a lie.

There are some boring scenes with lots of silly screaming and body contortions that would make some new-age circus performers jealous, but for the rest of the world, are just ridiculous. If you’ve seen any horror movie ever, none of this will be of any interest…I just can’t get over how hard this is riding The Exorcist. Most movies of this type are at least borrowing from it, but The Devil Inside is full on skinning The Exorcist and wearing its skin in a very poorly stitched together mask. And it’s sad how they think we will be convinced by this outright plagiarism, this absence of any kind of genuine thought.

Ooh, ooh, is she going to speak in crazy foreign languages, say offensive things and twist around like a mental patient making a balloon animal? So new and exciting!...if you've never seen a horror movie before in your life and also lived in a cave so as to not even understand references to popular horror movies...
Man, Elvira isn't looking too good these days.

Then they go on to some boring shit with the priests having crises of faith and all kinds of stuff I’d care about if I had no taste and was a lobotomy patient, maybe. There’s some babble about the Church not believing anything they show them, but it’s in the background and never becomes anything interesting. The characters all talk to the camera at one point or another like it’s their therapist, and, really, I’m so bored I could fall asleep on my keyboard…there’s like, what, a minute’s worth of drama between them before one of them goes and gets possessed?


I just love how they tell this guy “just fight it.” Yeah! Just fight it! Great advice, man; you’re the best ever! I’m sure that guy never thought to just fight the possession! He considered his options and that one just never came up in the lottery at all! In fact, all those other people in other movies who got possessed by demons? They just didn’t fight it enough.

We then see what that guy’s great advice truly amounted to…

Amazing. Then it’s time for Isabella to get possessed, because, hey, they don’t have any other ideas on what to do next. We see her cutting up some hospital staff with a knife, because, again, why not just allow random people to carry cameras around in hospitals, especially right after a new patient has been admitted? Totally safe. And in the car we even see that apparently, a one-camera found footage movie can have multiple angles showing a fast paced fight scene…just like if it was edited in a studio! Totally seamless! Looks so real, like a documentary!

Did someone put a camera right in front where the driver should be able to see the road? What the hell?

The movie just ends right when their car flips over and the camera blacks out. I guess that’s not a bad ending or anything, but really, it doesn’t make the rest of the movie any better. Like I said in the opening – where’s any reason to watch this at all? It’s totally cliché and trite. If you’ve seen The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism, The Possession, The Rite or any of the other godforsaken movies like this from the last few years, there are no surprises! Everything is redundant and tired. The characters are cardboard cutouts and they move through the age-old hoops of possession, screaming, body contortions, and boring priests talking about their faith…nothing is new, nothing is interesting. It’s practically a spectacle: a film so bland and unoriginal that it almost becomes something new in and of itself.

It would be one thing if this was executed with some kind of energy, or at least some real production value where the camera didn’t look like it had mud smeared all over the lenses, but hell, why not just make your movie as visually unappealing as it is mentally deficient? The Devil Inside is an equal-opportunity bad movie. Not to mention the pacing is horrible, skipping through its scenes like the director's finger was already on the fast forward button - if you're not interested in your own movie enough to slow down and let us enjoy the scenes, what's the point? Just keep it to your mom's basement.

If you really want to see something as literally creatively dead as it gets without just not existing at all, go ahead and watch this movie. And weep. But if you want a good horror movie, go watch V/H/S instead!

That’s much better than this and in fact, I’ll tell you all why in my next review.

This review brought to you by THE DEVIL. Also, none of these images belong to me, they belong to their original owners.