'The Devil Inside' Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: William Brent Bell (‘Stay Alive‘)
Starring: Fernanda Andrade (‘Sons of Anarchy’), Simon Quarterman (‘The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior’) and Evan Helmuth (‘Fever Pitch’)
Dramatizing a supposedly real exorcism in the ever-popular found footage sub-genre is a frighteningly effective plot element for horror directors. Despite the early success of the sub-genre with such acclaimed hits as ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ ‘Cloverfield’ and ‘Paranormal Activity,’ the real-life use of terrifying shots has lost its efficiency in scaring viewers. ‘The Devil Inside,’ the latest entry in the found footage category that claims to be inspired by actual events, is the perfect example of why the pieced-together shots of the missing or dead doesn’t automatically guarantee an intriguing storyline.
‘The Devil Inside’ follows Maria Rossi (played by Suzan Crowly) as she calls 911 in 1989 to report that she had brutally killed three people. It’s revealed the victims were two clergy members and a nun from Maria’s church, who were performing an unsanctioned exorcism on her. Twenty years later, her daughter, Isabella (portrayed by Fernanda Andrade), begins filming a documentary to uncover what really happened on the night of her mother’s ill-fated exorcism. She’s determined to find out if her mother is really mentally ill, as the Vatican insists, or if she’s demonically possessed.
Isabella travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Rome, where her mother was sent after she was declared not guilty of the murders by reason of insanity. With the help of a cameraman, Michael (played by Ionut Grama), Isabella recruits two exorcists, Ben (portrayed by Simon Quarterman) and David (portrayed by Evan Helmuth). The group tries to cure Maria using unconventional methods that combine science and religion, and as a result, they come face-to-face with pure evil.
Andrade, who is making her feature film leading role debut with ‘The Devil Inside,’ started off the supernatural horror movie convincingly questioning the motives of her mother, and what led her to commit the murders. The actress, who has made a name for herself guest starring on such television roles as ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and ‘The Glades,’ portrayed Isabella as being well-adjusted, and even content, with her life. But with the numerous attempts made by her father to find out what went wrong with his wife before his recent death, Isabella understandably wanted to fill the void of essentially losing both of her parents.
But over the course of ‘The Devil Inside,’ in part to Andrades’ inexperience in leading a cast in a full-length feature, the actress unfortunately lost touch with Isabella’s emotions and motives. As she persistently pushes Michael and David to jeopardize their careers in the church, and even face deportation from Italy, just to look into the possibility that her mother is demonically possessed. Isabella has no regard in how the investigation into her mother’s case will affect the priests, or even Michael, who cared for her welfare in the beginning of the film. But when he questioned whether pursing another exorcism for Maria is the moral thing to do, she doesn’t take his opinion into consideration, and instead lashes out at him.
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