Producer Jerry Bruckheimer was playing in the Disney sandbox for too long. He got comfortable making family friendly movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lone Ranger which made a lot of money but there was a feeling that Bruckheimer was coasting and playing it safe. Where was the man that produced classics like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop and Enemy of the State? Deliver Us From Evil isn’t a total return to form for Bruckheimer but it’s s step in the right direction and you can see that he’s tackling something new (he’s never made a horror film before).
Eric Bana is Sarchie, a New York cop with a propensity for finding trouble (aren’t they all?) who discovers that a series of apparently unconnected cases are in fact related – and to make matters worse the crimes are the work of a Doors loving demon. Sarchie teams up with Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), a hard drinking priest with a wandering eye to solve the case and banish the demon.
You have to give Bruckheimer and director Scott Derrickson their dues for attempting to add something new to the overplayed exorcism arena. Attaching a police procedural element gives this over-played horror sub genre a new twist that makes Deliver Us From Evil rather watchable, even if it is disjointed. The set-up takes too long to bring Sarchie’s disparate cases together and it plays like you’re watching about four episodes of CSI: Hell (a show that really needs to exist) at the same time. However, once things get going the pace picks up. You can see why Derrickson was hired to direct Marvel’s Doctor Strange off the back of this. He’s able to take the horror genre and deliver something unique and it will be nice to see a fresh take on the comic book movie.
Deliver Us From Evil is given authenticity by Eric Bana’s performance. He sells the character of Sarchie, overcoming the usual movie cop tropes to make him feel real (Sarchie is actually a real person!). Bana can deliver on an emotional and physical level, illustrating once again that he is a viable leading man. It’s times like this when you can once again curse The Incredible Hulk scuppering Bana’s career. Edgar Ramirez is also good as the Holy sidekick, and he appears to take immense joy in playing the all-action priest.
Visually strong and well made, Deliver Us From Evil is a rare big budget horror that hits the mark. The finale may lack originality, but there’s an attempt to make this something a little different – and that needs to be applauded.