William Brent Bell, 2012
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
Isabella, a cute-yet-troubled twenty-something, goes to Rome to investigate whether her mother has a severe psychiatric disorder or whether she is possessed. While Isabella was a child, her mother had a mental breakdown and committed multiple murders, which allegedly occurred during an exorcism. Straining the limits of plausibility, Isabella brings a documentary filmmaker along to capture her tragic story. They are allowed in the psychiatric hospital to interview her heavily sedated and annoyingly crazy mother and in the Vatican’s Exorcism School, where they take a class and hook up with two priests. The priests have secretly gone rogue and seek out cases the church has cast aside, in order to perform helpful exorcisms and save lives. They convince Isabella she has to see an exorcism to really know if her mother is demonically possessed, then, to no one’s great surprise, when they pay a visit to Isabella’s mother the shit hits the fan. Everyone gets possessed, there is a “surprise” ending, blah blah blah.
I knew what I was getting into and I strongly considered not going to see the film at all and instead making a list of religious horror films worth your valuable time (The Confessional, I’m looking at you). But I actually had a great time seeing the film on opening night and I think some thanks are in order.
To the guy in front of me who shouted “THAT’S MY JAM!” during a thoroughly non-creepy rendition of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” thank you. Coincidentally, he was the same one who shouted at the opening credits, “The devil’s inside? Yo, that’s rape! The devil’s gonna rape you!”
To the girls behind me who got into a “You shut up,” “No, you shut up,” “I’ll do what I want,” “Bitch, you ugly” fight, thank you.
To the people who shrieked out loud at a little vaginal blood, thank you.
To all the people talking on their cell phones, sending text messages, and the kind folks in the back who brought the crying toddler, thank you.
And most of all, to almost all the theater patrons who stood, screamed, booed, and had jaws dropped in disbelief at the ending, thanks. I could not have gotten through this film without you. Especially the girl a row in front of me who said to her date as the credits rolled, “No, I’m not leaving, there is no way that can be the end. They’re trying to trick us.”
If you’re planning to go see The Devil Inside, get blindingly drunk and go to the most crowded theater possible with the rudest patrons you can imagine. I promise you’ll have a good time (my only mistake was being sober).
P.S. If you really want to know the end, I will happily tell you. Isabella's mother is not possessed by a demon. She's possessed by multiple demons. They jump from her to one of the priests during the ridiculous exorcism performed inside the psych ward, to Isabella, to the douchebag filmmaker. The surviving priest has kidnapped Isabella from the hospital and is attempting to perform an exorcism in the back of a moving vehicle. So the demon(s) does the logical thing and jumps to the driver, violently crashing the car and destroying the camera. And because this is a "found footage" film, that means that the show's over, kids. Too bad it wasn't sooner.