“Deliver Us From Evil” is a powerful battle between Good and Evil

DUFE poster“There are two types of evil in this life, Officer Sarchie. Secondary evil, the evil that men do; and primary evil, which is something else entirely.” – Father Joe Mendoza, “Deliver Us From Evil”

  • Three combat soldiers descend into a subterranean chamber in the desert of Iraq and discover something that is more horrifying than the battlefield.
  • A mother takes her baby to the Bronx Zoo where, as if hypnotized, she suddenly throws the infant into the lion’s pen. When people come to the child’s rescue, she fights them off with a super-human strength.
  • A family reports strange noises in their basement and strange phenomenon throughout their house. When police investigate, they find archaic Latin writing and strange symbols on the basement walls.

Coincidence? Or is primary evil loose on the streets of the 46th Precinct of South Bronx?

Screen Gems and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “Deliver Us From Evil” stars Erick Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale, Sean Harris Olivia Horton, Chris Coy and Lulu Wilson. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it is directed by Scott Derrickson who co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Harris Boardman. The script is based on the book, “Deliver Us From Evil,” by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool.

About the film:

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, Father Mendoza (Ramírez)—schooled in the rituals of exorcism—to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city.

The film, “Deliver Us From Evil” is a combination of paranormal cases taken from Ralph Sarchie’s book tied together in a single narrative. The storyline is fictional, but the scary sequences are based on Sarchie’s real experiences.

Derrickson/Broadman’s script is jump-out-of-your-seat scary with fully-fleshed characters and a heart-pounding storyline The scriptwriters did not rely only on special effect shock elements; they incorporated dialogue that brought the characters and story to life. On the question of Good and Evil, Father Mendoza had some memorable lines. “Whatever your sins are,” the priest warned Sarchie as they prepared to confront the demon, “they will be used against you.” When Sarchie resisted the idea of participating in an exorcism, claiming he was not a saint, Mendoza replied, “A saint is not a moral exemplar; he is a life giver.”

The acting was strong. From his first line, Bana was a New York cop, balancing the horrors he faced each day with trying to be a loving husband and father. McHale played the ex-Army Ranger-turned-cop with a mix of dark humor and a bizarre love of fighting. Olivia Munn played Jen Sarchie as a strong woman, who understood the challenges of being a cop’s wife yet fought for her family. Ramirez as Father Mendoza portrayed a priest unlike most seen in horror movies.

Visually, the film is gritty and dark with most scenes being shot at night. The set was as realistic as it comes; with the expectation of a few scenes, it was filmed almost entirely on location in Bronx, mostly in Ralph Sarchie’s own 46th Precinct. The steamy, rainy backdrop that adds to the mood of the film was courtesy of Mother Nature herself; the filming occurred during a record-breaking rainy June. The scene in the psychiatric ward was shot in the Nassau County Correctional Facility in East Meadow, Long Island in the housing for the criminally insane. Although not in the 46th Precinct, the filmmakers was given rare permission to shoot inside the 114-year-old Bronx Zoo.

The physical appearance of the demon-possessed characters was a result of lengthy makeup-sessions. Olivia Horton’s 30 plus prosthetics took more than four hours in the makeup chair, while Sean Harris spent eight hours in the makeup chair for the 150 prosthetics he wore for the exorcism scene.

However, what tops this film is the powerful battle between good and evil, God and Satan. Father Mendoza confronted the demon with an understanding of the Enemy and a confidence in the powers of the weapons he wielded; Scripture and the name of Jesus Christ. Unlike many supernatural/paranormal movies, “Deliver Us From Evil” leaves no doubt at all that, in the end, good overcomes evil and Satan is no match for God.

“Deliver Us From Evil” has a running time of 1 hour and 57 minutes. It has been rated R for: bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout and language.