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Published on March 27th, 2012

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FILM REVIEW: The Devil Inside

By Allana Wares

Wares Rating: **

The Devil Inside is an exorcism turned documentary film following Maria Rossi, a mother who is possessed and murders three people during a failed exorcism. Cue the aftermath, with crime scene walkthrough footage showing gruesome blood-splattered walls and piercing guilty eyes staring through the back window of a police car.

Fast forward twenty years and we meet Maria’s daughter Isabella, who is filming a documentary about exorcisms and wants to find out the truth about her mother who has been locked in a psychiatric hospital in Rome since the murders. But is she possessed or simply clinically insane?

One of the most troubling elements of the film is one of the undercover exorcist’s claims to preach both science and religion. He is a priest and a medical doctor. These two ideologies can’t even agree on how this earth came to exist, never mind anything after that. Try to imagine Stephen Hawking performing an exorcism – it doesn’t work.

We witness a couple of exorcisms, including that of Maria, complete with the growling noises, dark lighting, body contortions and screaming we have come to expect from this genre. Our doctor/priest character has raided the set of a medical drama and brings his bible as well as a sophisticated and oh so holy heart rate monitor.

Isabella and her cameraman appear throughout the film to put much thought into their documentary footage. It is a shame the director did not employ such diligence with his film. Mediocre characters and plot leave you free to notice schoolboy errors. Isabella is seen driving a left-hand drive car on the right-hand side of the road in Rome. Real life Americans who try this would create a path of destruction and crushed metal.

After Maria’s less than successful exorcism, it is revealed that she is possessed by four demons. Which is conveniently the same number of main characters in our story. You do the maths. But don’t be fooled into thinking the ending is predictable. The ending is indeed spectacular. Spectacularly bad. Put simply, it is a huge let down. After only seventy five minutes, the credits rolled and angry audience members shouted their cries of disbelief.

The Devil Inside offers little new material to an overpopulated genre rife with déjà exorcism films. It was advertised as “the film the Vatican didn’t want you to see”. The Vatican has its critics, but on this occasion, their advice is spot on. Trust me, they are doing you the holiest of favors.

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