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Scott Derrickson
Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale
Writing Credits:
Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) begins investigating a series of bizarre and disturbing inexplicable crimes. When he uncovers that the crimes are of super-natural origins, he must join forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are taking over and terrorizing their city.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$4,750,289 on 3,049 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Descriptive Audio Service
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $40.99
Release Date: 10/28/2014

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Scott Derrickson
• “Illuminating Evil” Featurette
• “Deliver Us From Demons” Featurette
• “The Two Sergeants” Featurette
• “The Demon Detective” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Deliver Us From Evil [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 19, 2014)

According to a blurb on the Blu-ray’s box, Fox-TV’s Shawn Edwards views 2014’s Deliver Us From Evil as “The Exorcist meets Se7en!” Given that I think those are both stone-cold classics, how could I not give Evil a look?

“Inspired by” true events, a prologue set in 2010 introduces us to combat troops who encounter something mysterious and ominous. The film then leaps to 2013 and takes us to the Bronx to meet Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), an NYPD cop who works in special ops. With his partner Sgt. Butler (Joel McHale), they deal with a woman who threw her kid into a moat at the zoo and fled.

Sarchie discovers the woman – Jane (Olivia Horton) - as she babbles lyrics to a Doors song. While they take her into custody, they meet Joe Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), a Jesuit priest who works with Jane, and Sarchie starts to encounter more and more bizarre cases like the freaky, delusional Jane. We follow these paths, as well as Sarchie’s relationship with Mendoza and the impact on the cop’s own mental state and life.

Despite the blurb I mentioned at the start, I never expected Evil to live up to Se7en or Exorcist. That would be irrational, as those remain two of the greatest films ever made. If Evil could give me something reasonably interesting, I’d feel happy, especially given my frequent disenchantment with the start of the modern horror movie. Too many efforts in that genre rely on nothing other than creepy images and loud noises to “scare” viewers.

Inevitably, Evil comes with some of those “boo moments”, but it manages to turn into something more intriguing than the typical 21st century horror movie. It helps that it takes it doesn’t telegraph its genre right off the bat. While most tales of this sort lack any form of subtlety, Evil brings us into the material in a slow manner that satisfies. From the opening combat scene to our introduction to the cops, we don’t get beaten over the head with the usual spooky visuals and creepy music; if you didn’t know better, you’d think you’d tuned into a cop drama and not a movie about the supernatural.

Even when Evil reveals those components, it does so in a way that allows for alternate interpretation. Many movies include elements that are supposed to be open for non-supernatural viewpoints, but these tend to pay lip service more than anything else; in those films, the non-believers need to come up with extravagant explanations for the incredible events.

Evil manages a more open-ended, natural take. It brings us into the supernatural material slowly and in a way that allows for more rational view – for a while, at least. Inevitably it digs more and more into the fanciful, but I don’t mind that; at least it leaves the situations up for interpretation for a reasonable amount of time.

The film manages a fair amount of suspense along the way. Yeah, it comes with a lot of genre tropes and it tends toward clichés, so one shouldn’t expect the movie to become anything tremendously original or fresh.

At this point, though, I favor execution over newness – at least in the horror genre. Any tale of this sort will owe a strong allegiance to Exorcist, but Evil manages not to wear those connections too heavily on its sleeve, largely because of the emphasis on the cop character. While the 1973 classic included a police officer, he functioned in a wholly different manner and wasn’t the focal point ala Sarchie.

Bana delivers a pretty good anchor to the film. I’m not sure he pulls off his Bronx accent, but he holds onto the character well and allows him to ground a story that gets more and more nutty as it goes.

Inevitably, Evil can’t match up with the classics to which the Blu-ray’s cover compares it, but that doesn’t make it a bad film. It tells us mostly compelling story in a creepy, dynamic manner and turns into a better than average supernatural thriller.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Deliver Us From Evil appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a strong presentation.

Sharpness pleased, as the film appeared accurate and well-defined. No notable instances of softness showed up in this detailed image. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

One expects a teal and orange palette from a 2014 thriller, and one finds those hues in Evil. As tired as I am of those colors, I must judge what I see, not what I want to see, and the Blu-ray replicated the tones with appropriate clarity and smoothness. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots were good; the movie came with plenty of dark elements and presented them in a concise manner. In the end, the image worked well.

Evil didn’t present a tremendously ambitious DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield, but the audio seemed to accentuate the visuals well. It mixed creepy atmosphere with a mix of jolts and stings from the rear.

In the front, the track showed good stereo music and presented various elements in a logical and natural manner. The elements blended neatly and created a seamless sense of the environment. From the rear, aggressive violent components added kick to the proceedings and made the mix more immersive and involving.

Audio quality seemed positive. Dialogue consistently appeared natural and crisp, with no edginess or intelligibility issues on display. Music was clear and dynamic. The score seemed broadly reproduced and complemented the mix nicely. Effects appeared accurate and concise, with positive punch. Everything suited the film and turned this into a “B+” track.

When we head to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Scott Derrickson. In this running, screen-specific chat, Derrickson discusses the film’s origins and development, the material based on real people/situations, story/character/script areas, music, cast and performances, sets and locations, and a mix of other domains.

Derrickson provides a wholly satisfying commentary. He touches on a wide variety of movie notes and also gets into interesting related areas like his thoughts on genre and the supernatural. The track moves well and delivers a fine examination of the film.

Four featurettes follow. Illuminating Evil goes for 13 minutes, 36 seconds and includes notes from Derrickson, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, co-writer Paul Harris Boardman, Beware the Night author Ralph Sarchie, production designer Bob Shaw and actors Eric Bana, Eric Ramirez, Joel McHale, and Olivia Munn. “Illuminating” looks at the flick’s path to the screen and real-life influences, cast, characters and performances, and shooting in the Bronx. It’s nice to see the real Sarchie and a few decent notes emerge here, but a fair amount of the info already appears in Derrickson’s commentary, so “Illuminating” can be a bit redundant.

During the eight-minute, 25-second Deliver Us From Demons, we hear from Derrickson and prosthetic makeup designer Mike Marino. “Demons” looks at makeup effects as well as the performance of actor Sean Harris. I like the emphasis on Marino’s work in this tight little piece.

The Two Sergeants lasts eight minutes, five seconds and features Derrickson, Bana and Sarchie. The show looks at Sarchie the person and Sarchie the character. It becomes another good look at movie areas.

Finally, The Demon Detective fills nine minutes, 37 seconds with info from Sarchie and Derrickson. This one discusses Sarchie’s work, with an emphasis on his religious views and demonology. I continue to enjoy the glimpses of the real Sarchie, so this show completes the featurettes well.

The disc opens with ads for No Good Deed, The Equalizer, The Remaining, Predestination, Grace: The Possession and The Callling. These appear under Previews as well. No trailer for Evil shows up here.

Given the mediocre quality of modern horror, I didn’t expect greatness from Deliver Us From Evil - and I didn’t find greatness. That said, the movie brings us a pretty good take on the exorcism genre and does more right than wrong. The Blu-ray delivers solid picture and audio along with bonus materials highlighted by an excellent commentary. Evil ends up as a mostly satisfying supernatural thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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