Horror review: The Devil Inside

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 6, 2012

Those exorcism flicks can be real hit ’n’ miss affairs. Back in 2010, The Last Exorcism took a documentary-style approach to demon-banishing and acquitted itself quite well, whereas the soul of last year’s priests-versus-Beelzebub epic, The Rite, couldn’t even be saved by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Now comes another feature to remind us all just how brilliant The Exorcist was back in ’73 and how almost every possession flick since has paled by comparison.

The Devil Inside stars beautiful Fernanda Andrade as Isabella, a young American who travels to Italy to see how her mom, Maria (Suzan Crowley), is doing in a mental hospital 20 years after brutally offing the nun and two priests who were trying to conduct an exorcism on her. Isabella brings along a cameraman (Ionut Grama) to document the trip, so there’s a lot of that jittery Blair Witch–style videography to contend with, especially when things get hairy on staircases.

The movie offers fleeting moments of entertainment when Isabella is shown reuniting with Maria, whose deranged-bag-lady creepiness is its main highlight. When two priests from a nearby exorcism academy (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) are recruited to try and drive the demons out of Maria (one just ain’t enough anymore), it’s all the same old stuff: bodily contortions, venomous spitting, evil-sounding curses and threats.

And, of course, they forget to tie the nasty bitch down properly.

The Devil Inside’s running time of just 83 minutes is both a blessing and a curse because even though all the ho-hum exorcizing has you yearning for the closing credits, the finale is terribly timed. Audience members at last night’s advance screening were genuinely shocked that it ended so abruptly, though they seemed kinda happy about it, too.

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