‘Deliver Us From Evil’: Devil must have made director concoct these routine frights
By BILL STAMETS For Sun-Times Media July 2, 2014 10:46AM
A character based on a real NYPD cop, Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), teams up with an exorcist to investigate crimes that seem linked to demonic possession in “Deliver Us From Evil.” | Screen Gems
‘DELIVER US FROM EVIL’ ★★
Ralph Sarchie Eric Bana
Mendoza Edgar Ramirez
Butler Joel McHale
Jen Sarchie Olivia Munn
Screen Gems presents a film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, based on the book by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool. Running time: 118 minutes. Rated R (for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout and language). Now showing at local theaters.
Updated: July 2, 2014 5:45PM
‘Deliver Us From Evil” is a Catholic thriller pairing Bronx special operations Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) with Father Joe Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez from “Carlos” and “Che”), an exorcist and Narcotics Anonymous member. Director Scott Derrickson and his co-writer, Paul Harris Boardman, deliver a routine procedural with unremarkable frights. They did far better with “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005).
On the Fourth of July in 2010, a trio of U.S. Marines encounter a cryptic Persian-Latin inscription during Operation Reaper in Diyala, Iraq. Dishonorably discharged for beating the daylights out of the base chaplain, they go to the Bronx, where they self-mutilate and talk to zoo lions — under the influence of songs by the Doors.
Titled after the seventh petition of The Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver Us From Evil” reckons the psychic cost of bringing home your work, whether from Iraq or the 46th Precinct. The devil infests souls on front lines in order to inflict more evil on the home front. Theological terror is the subtext of this exorcist-centered escapism produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
NYPD cop Ralph Sarchie co-authored “Beware the Night” in 2001: “The book is not about some cop or the Devil, it is about God.” Despite naming the main character after Sarchie, who is credited as a consultant, the filmmakers illogically state: “Any similarity to or identification with ... any person ... or entity is entirely coincidental and unintentional.” As if an entity named Satan might sue.
At the end Mendoza asks: “Do you renounce Satan and all his works?” Sarchie’s unsurprising answer: “I renounce all evil.”
Derrickson, who directed “Sinister” in 2012, graduated from an evangelical Protestant college. “How can a Christian not do horror films?” he told an interviewer from the campus magazine. “No one is more equipped to do horror films than a Christian.”