“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Deliver Us From Evil

"You! Guy possessed by a demon! You're comin with me, pal!"
“You! Guy possessed by a demon! You’re comin with me, pal!”

DELIVER US FROM EVIL takes place in a horror movie Bronx. It’s all gloomy cinematography of wet streets at night, filthy, decrepit apartments, an ancient Latin invocation carved into walls or flesh. A malevolent demon monster or whatever is spookifying the place, so wherever our hero goes the power cuts out or the light bulbs burn out or they flicker like a strobelight (sometimes for an entire knife fight scene).

Also I think the filmatists are trying to play off of our primal fear of animals, so the Iraq War prologue features tarantulas, a snake and a bat. Another early scene involves a zoo with the animals loose (and lights out, of course) and the heroes get chased by a bunch of lions. Later a major piece of evidence is a security camera tape of a dude talking to a lion. And you got your usual cat scares like in all movies and also a crucified kitten and if you saw the trailer you’ll remember the scene of the hero’s daughter in bed at night getting spooked by her weird hooting owl doll. Sadly that James-Wan-esque scene climaxes with a jack-in-the-box with blood on its face. The ol’ evil clown standby. Boo.

still_deliverusfromevil
“At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi.”

Patrolling this world we have macho NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana). He was raised Catholic, sure, but doesn’t believe in all that mumbo jumbo, etc. He’s renowned by his colleagues for catching a child killer with the first draft name “Marvin the Molester” and punching his face to death. He works too much his wife is pregnant she never sees him when he is home it’s like he’s not even there she never knows if she’s gonna get that call in the middle of the night he missed his daughter’s birthday she cried herself to sleep, all that. But somehow every case he gets connects to this weird supernatural thing with a mysterious guy who walks around acting scary with his Darth Maul hoodie up at all times even though he’s never in the numerous scenes where it’s pouring rain.

Sarchie also has a wiseass partner with seven deadly sins themed tattoos who carries two big knives that he uses to fight suspects instead of guns which in my opinion is not regulation. He’s played by Joel McHale from Community and the local Seattle sketch show that Bill Nye the Science Guy started on, Almost Live!. I know from an interview with director/co-writer Scott Derrickson that McHale has been his best friend for years and supposedly this character is more like the real him than anything he’s ever played. Apparently he really is obsessed with knives and maybe even wears a backwards baseball hat and sleeveless shirts all the time. Still, I had a hard time accepting the funny asshole guy from TV as this David Ayer type character, even when he tried to do an accent.

But he does wear an Alice in Chains t-shirt out of hometown pride so that’s good I think.mp_deliverusfromevilOf course Sarchie is a skeptic who is slowly taught that actually evil magic is like totally, totally real though. His guide is Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez, ZERO DARK THIRTY), a cool “undercover” priest who wears black leather and smokes and has long hair to pull back on during times of stress. He’s not your father’s Father, is what I’m trying to get across here.

Mendoza thinks Sarchie might have a gift for “The Work.” Sarchie doesn’t agree at first, but conveniently he sees and hears things that other people can’t, not even the priest. He hears sounds on security camera recordings with no audio. I know that’s kinda weird because there wasn’t a microphone there or anything but so what, he hears it. What other explanation is there for it? Are you calling him a liar?

I honestly like the relationship between Sarchie and Mendoza. They reveal their dark pasts both to build trust and to get some closure and be able to move on. Basically, they confess their sins to each other. It seems to get dangerously close to implying that the child killer he beat to death might have just been an innocent guy possessed by a satan. I’m glad it doesn’t quite take that leap. But eventually Sarchie trusts Mendoza enough that when he wants to do an exorcism of the suspect in his interrogation room he tells him to do it and offers to help. But yeah, that means the last 20 minutes or so are an exorcism scene.

Is it just me? I think THE EXORCIST is great filmmaking, but I never thought it was that scary. I always figured you had to be raised Catholic and have some kind of fear in you of devils and demons to be scared of it. Here we have a movie from a director who, in interviews, sounds like he really believes in this stuff. He talks about tapes he’s seen of “exorcisms” of people “possessed” and how he’s seen things that couldn’t possibly be explained except by the possibility of invisible monsters from another dimension being able to secretly get inside humans and make them seem like they’re mentally ill until a priest reads certain words to him for a while and then that deadbeat devil has to fuckin scram. In one sense it’s good because you want the artist to truly believe in his subject, no matter how crazy. But in another sense it’s like, maybe his threshold for a scary horror movie is different than mine since I don’t get to fall back on this belief that shit like that is real.

But even aside from all that, we weren’t born yesterday, we’ve seen THE EXORCIST, and this is not different enough from that to feel like a new movie. The clever part is that it’s an exorcism to get information out of the suspect. They decide it’s the only way to find out where he put Sarchie’s kidnapped wife and daughter. I respect that it’s a merging of horror and action movie tropes, but it still feels like yet another rehash of a thing we’ve seen before. It’s not enough of a twist, and I’m not sure how you really can twist it enough to be worth doing in a movie for the millionth fucking time. Maybe if it was an exorcism in the backseat of a car involved in a high speed chase and shootout? I don’t know. But not this.

""There ought to be a law against these evil, occult `toys,'" writes Sgt. Sarchie. "I can hear some of you out there saying, 'Hey, I used a Ouija board and nothing happened.' Consider yourself lucky, then. It's like playing Russian roulette. When you put the gun to your head, if you don't hear a loud noise, you made it. Same thing with the board: The more times you pull the trigger, the more likely that on the next shot, your entire world will go black. I've had one case where a young mother played with a Ouija board at a party, with horrifying -- and tragic -- results."
“There ought to be a law against these evil, occult `toys.’ I can hear some of you out there saying, ‘Hey, I used a Ouija board and nothing happened.’ Consider yourself lucky, then. It’s like playing Russian roulette. When you put the gun to your head, if you don’t hear a loud noise, you made it. Same thing with the board: The more times you pull the trigger, the more likely that on the next shot, your entire world will go black. I’ve had one case where a young mother played with a Ouija board at a party, with horrifying — and tragic — results.” –actual account of the real Ralph Sarchie in his book

There’s a related issue I gotta bring up, a bias I couldn’t help but hold against the movie. There is a real Ralph Sarchie whose book this is loosely based on, and it opens by saying “Inspired by the actual accounts of an NYPD sergeant.” In my opinion that statement should continue, “who obviously should’ve been fired because he thought he was dealing with demonic powers.” I mean it’s bad enough when cops make bad judgment calls that may or may not come from prejudices they have. Here we have a guy on the street with guns (and in the movie with deadly fists) who believes that some of the people he deals with are being controlled by evil monsters and have magic powers. Not safe.

If you read about him, Sarchie also says he worked with the Warrens, the people played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in THE CONJURING. And in his book he tells ludicrous stories like the one where he almost has to fight 15 satanists and their leader commits suicide because he messed with spells from The Necronomicon (a fake ancient book made for H.P. Lovecraft fans). So you don’t really know if he’s a sincere nutcase or, like his mentors, a fraud taking advantage of troubled people who become the subjects of their horseshit books about ghosts and devils. I can’t find it anymore but at the time of the theatrical release I found his Facebook page where he mostly just posted religious paintings, with a peppering of right wing memes and links to Michele Bachmann quotes. So the “crazy or liar?” question could go either way.

Whichever it is, I’m kind of insulted by this type of marketing where we’re supposed to believe that somebody like that is legitimate. “Well, it says there’s demons, but it’s based on actual accounts, I guess it’s real. They’re not allowed to put that on the ad if it’s not kinda real.”

And by the way, isn’t it ironic that modern horror treats people like Sarchie and the Warrens as heroes, when they made their bones peddling the exact same satanic panic idiocy that tormented so many of the horror fans of the ’80s? I don’t have experience in that type of Christianity – I was raised Presbyterian, we said “Peace be with you” to each other and ran a food bank, we didn’t fight devils – and I don’t like belittling religious beliefs. But it made more sense when these superstitious crusaders were the natural enemy of the horror fan. Because of this nonsense the parents of some of the long-haired black t-shirt wearers who loved these types of movies thought they had to look for satanic symbols and subliminal messages in their heavy metal albums and their Dungeons & Dragons. We can laugh off gullible moms taking away Judas Priest records, but there were kids who got sent to boot camp because their parents didn’t understand them. There were kids who got locked up for 18 years in West Memphis because their community honestly believed in heavy metal fans sacrificing children to the Devil. I hope next they make a movie based on the actual accounts of Southern Ohio evangelist Jim Brown, who discovered in the mid ’80s that Satan had hidden backwards messages in the theme song to Mr. Ed.

That aside, as a fictional character I’m okay with Sarchie. I always enjoy Bana, and he has an enjoyable, macho presence here even though the New York accent sometimes falters. (Sometimes his voice reminded me of Liam Neeson’s for some reason.) And I think he does have a respectable religious arc to his character, the way he comes to terms with it being wrong to punch Marvin the Molester’s clock, and also the way Mendoza teaches him that the possessed individual is a victim who needs to be helped. So he seems forgiving of the guy even though he killed his partner and terrorized his family. (I wonder if he just let the guy go, or if the testified at the trial that no, he’s not guilty of murder and kidnapping because that was the demonic spirit called The Jungler.)

Oh yeah, so the spirit is called The Jungler. This is an issue I’ve had with the works of Derrickson. He’s good at creating atmosphere and tension and some things. Good with actors. That movie SINISTER looked pretty good and I liked Ethan Hawke in it. But I think we have a different idea of the line between scary and corny. The monster in SINISTER was just such a fuckin dork. And he was called “Mr. Boogie,” for crying out loud. The Jungler doesn’t look as insane clown as Mr. Boogie, but still. The hoodie is not enough, and yet too much.

This corniness factor also plays into a reoccurring motif in the movie, which is the music of The Doors. Sarchie keeps noticing references to Doors lyrics, then something latin about a “portal,” which makes him think of The Doors. And then during the exorcism he hears the Doors in one of those special sound visions that only he can hear. I mean, for crying out loud. They were a good band, I like their sound. But I’m already suspicious of anyone who thinks they’re real deep (Oliver Stone excluded – lifetime pass for writing CONAN THE BARBARIAN and SCARFACE), so taking it to the next level of thinking they’re supernatural is three to six steps over my personal line of acceptable hokiness.

So this one didn’t really work on me but I can see how it’s well made in alot of ways. I’m just gonna have to quit with the “realistic” ghost and demon movies, I think. Give me a crazy monster and I’m okay but no more of this actual account shit. People always say that vampires and zombies are played out, but what about ghosts and demons? Way less variation in those. Frankly I’m sick of the motherfuckers.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 11:34 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

31 Responses to “Deliver Us From Evil”

  1. I have no problem believing that the Doors are a product of the devil.

    They play “Break on Through to the Other Side” so much in this movie that I fully expected to see Robby Krieger listed as co-producer. I really didn’t like this movie. Ramirez and Bana are reliable, but they can’t overcome the goofy story. I really didn’t like the attempts to say this was a true story because a former police officer is the one telling it.

  2. Man, I have a friend who is consulting on a case about a guy who is in jail for some crime, and one of the pieces of evidence they used to convict him was The Necronomicon — this book, incidentally, is a well-known hoax in the “occult community.” I mean, a lot of the books are “hoaxes”, or else they’re just made up, but even if you for whatever reason believe that the Lesser Key of Solomon is a real book that can summon demons, you probably know that Simon’s Necronomicon is a fake.

    Anyway, I wonder if this case is related, huhm.

  3. The Original Paul

    June 11th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    So I watched RED LIGHTS recently because I thought it’d be fun to see a movie from the sceptic’s point of view, which is how it was advertised. It got kind of a leukwarm reception and I couldn’t see why – until the ending, when it turns out that psychic powers DO exist. Really, really cliche’d psychic powers. Seriously one of the stupidest endings I’ve ever seen in a movie – and I’ve seen some howlers.

    Look, I like a good ghost story as much as the next guy, but the constant torrent of this nonsense does get me down. It’s as bad as the “science is man meddling in God’s domain” thing that you still keep seeing in movies, even now. I mean, I was watching BUGS the other month, and even that show – which is practically a fetishisation of everything that was sci-fi in the eighties – had a “frankenfoods” episode where it turned out that the food in question is lethal when exposed to UV light. One of the characters even says, “I guess there are some things we’re just not supposed to do.” I mean, come the fuck on. Let’s have some kind of acknowledgement that the cure for bad science is good science, not no science.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I agree with Vern about his being bothered by things like witches being portrayed as real monsters, when in fact a lot of people were wrongly tortured to death through false accusations of this; but I think even more than that are the films that portray psychics as “real”, as compared to the ones where they’re portrayed as the charlatans that they are. (And if that sounds closed-minded, I say it because every single psychic investigated, without exception, has been proven to be using perfectly natural methods to produce their results. And I say this because 1) there are huge rewards promised to people who can produce supernatural results, never claimed, and 2) If there was actually a psychic who could produce a result that couldn’t be explained naturally, that person would be the most famous, rich, celebrated person on earth – and none of them are!)

    I mean… are there any films that portrayed these people as the scum and con-merchants that they are? Or at least take a sceptical attitude towards their claims?

  4. The Original Paul

    June 11th, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    To answer my own question: there was last year’s LUCY, which was very much pro-science, or at least pro-knowledge. Which was ironic considering that that film featured a drug that allowed you to defy the laws of physics a minute or two after taking it. LUCY was not exactly a scientifically accurate film. But it had a pro-science stance. Interesting.

    But that’s very much the exception to the rule. If you get 100 films that treats science as the thing that will cause the downfall of mankind for every one film that treats it as the thing that allows humankind to develop and change, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that movies seem to be biased against science.

  5. The Original Paul

    June 11th, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Also I thought SINISTER has some genuinely scary moments. A lot of people say they saw the ending coming, and it did occur to me at the start, but the rest of the film threw me off enough that I was surprised when it came. And that scene with the moving picture on the laptop creeped the fuck outta me. So put me down as a defender of Bughuul AKA “Mr Boogie”.

    I don’t know if the Doors are a product of the devil, but I absolutely buy that Status Quo are. Has anybody heard WHATEVER YOU WANT recently? If that isn’t the product of utter evil, I don’t know what is.

  6. Hey Vern- Why exactly do you not like belittling religious beliefs? I mean, I think we can all agree that certain ideologies and lines of thinking can be harmfull- I assume you wouldn’t have a problem belittling the beliefs of white supremacists or neo-nazis or something like that. What is it about religious thinking that grants it special treatment as far as you’re concerned? I’m honestly not trying to be disrespectful or pick a fight or anything. I dunno.. maybe this is the one place on the internet where this conversation can happen without it turning into a screaming match.

  7. SINISTER did every single thing I hate about modern horror, but it creeped me out pretty good all the same. I do not like that Mr. Boogie. No sir. I do not care for him one bit.

    So maybe I’ll see this one, but if I do, it’ll just be to see Joel McHale play with knives. I want to see every COMMUNITY cast member in a shitty horror movie. So far I’ve just got Alison Brie in BORN but that movie is shitty enough to compensate for like seven other shitty movies so it’s a real treat. Anybody seen it? Seriously, it’s like something Troy and Abed would make over a long weekend. Highly recommended.

  8. The Original Paul

    June 11th, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Majestyk – I love Alison Brie, but having rewatched SCREAM 4, I have to say that almost everything wrong with that movie, except the hospital bit, can be put down to her character or stuff revolving around her character. (I’m also not quite sure why she spends every scene speaking in baby-talk. It’s really annoying.)

    Also I’m not sure that SCREAM 4 actually counts as a horror movie – at least until the killer’s preparations after the reveal near the end. That bit is up there with the opening death in the first SCREAM movie.

    I avoided BORN because the reviews were… not good. I’ve learnt my lesson after PULSE, starring Kristen Bell (I didn’t realise at the time I saw it that it was actually a remake of a J-horror movie, let alone what is probably my favorite ever J-horror movie.) I don’t go for horror movies just because there’s an actor, or more commonly actress, that I like in them any more.

  9. Derrickson’s best movie is still Hellraiser 5: Inferno, which is really a fantastic effort by DTV standards.

  10. I saw that THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE flick that Scott Derrickson directed and I remember the audience loudly laughing at the movie at several points, so his brand of horror has always been corny.

  11. “I always figured you had to be raised Catholic and have some kind of fear in you of devils and demons to be scared of it. ”

    Nope, I was raised a strict atheist and I think possession is scary as shit. The Exorcist:
    1) Revolves around violating a child’s final place of safety and sanctuary: the bed
    2) Features an enemy that attacks you from within
    3) Takes innocuous things and proves that you should fear them
    The last one is what drives it home for me. Like the Captain Howdy scene and how it is so innocent for the characters experiencing it vs how sinister it is for the audience who knows what’s REALLY going on.

    I think that actual exorcism scenes themselves though end up not being scary because it’s always adults confronting the situation head on with commanding voices. They work better as climactic battles of Good vs Evil and that’s why Exorcist is so successful, with its epic von Sydow dialogue. I’d like to see an exorcism performed by frightened children, unable to convince any adults of their plight. That sounds scary as fuck to me.

  12. Completely agree about The Exorcist. Great movie, doesn’t scare me. Most horror movies don’t. I don’t think a demon is going to possess me, but I like the story. But I’m also not scared by The Shining.

    The fading accent thing is interesting. How does that even happen? They have ADR. If the accent wasn’t quite there on set, they can still fix it.

  13. The Original Paul

    June 12th, 2015 at 3:43 am

    A really good exorcism movie – and THE EXORCIST obviously counts as that – has a lot of elements of my favorite genre, bodyshock horror, in it. There’s the idea of something alien and hostile getting inside you and changing you, the notion that somebody you love may no longer be somebody you love, the uncertainty as to whether that person can be “cured” or not, etc.

    I’ve said repeatedly on this very comments section that the BODYSNATCHERS movies are, in my opinion, the purest form of horror ever put to film. They’re about the thing that we can’t live without, the thing we take for granted every day of our lives, suddenly becoming alien and hostile. And what thing could be more horrifying to suddenly “turn” this way than the people we love? I think that really good exorcism movies take basically the same fear and use it in a slightly different, but obviously related, way. And that’s where the element of horror comes in.

    So I don’t think you have to be religious or have a religious background to appreciate a good exorcism movie, any more than you have to be a believer in aliens from outer space to appreciate a good BODYSNATCHERS one. I think that what THE EXORCIST and its peers were tapping into was a more primal fear than just an anxiety about societal constructs such as demons or hell or something.

  14. The Original Paul

    June 12th, 2015 at 4:35 am

    And I really think that this is where “Western” horror differs from J-horror. I think Western horror is mostly about themes of identity. It’s about the girl in FRIDAY THE 13th’s progression from innocent camp counsellor to feral beast who’ll literally chop the head off of her tormentor; about Dr Loomis’ decade-long search for humanity in Michael Myers; about Ellen Ripley becoming a leader or surrogate mother; about how the walking dead reflect our own nature; etc. Nearly all Western horror is about how our experiences shape, change, or just reveal who we really are. Survivalist movies don’t just deal with the fear of death, but with the fear of losing some part of yourself in the process of surviving. Zombie movies, again, aren’t about the fear of death but about the fear of changing into something that’s no longer you, that could hurt the ones that you care about.

    J-horror is different. It’s primarily about control. KAIRO and JU-ON, to give the best examples, both deal with primal elemental forces that are not only external and hostile, but can’t be stopped. The fear for the characters in those movies isn’t that they’ll lose their identities or change in some way, it’s that they have no control over what’s happening. The force in KAIRO can’t be killed. If you happen to wander into the wrong place, it will get you (and there’s no certainty about what exactly happens to you when it does.) And the demon from JU-ON isn’t even constrained by locality (which is how the survivors from KAIRO last as long as they do) – if it randomly decides that it wants you dead, you’re dead. The primal fear involved is losing control of your own fate.

    That’s not to say that Western horror don’t also make use of the fear of lack of control, or that J-horror doesn’t play with themes of identity either; but if you think about THE EXORCIST, the devil is never presented as a force that can’t be dealt with through action – although it’s obviously doubtful until the end as to how successful those actions will be. In the end, though, actions can be taken to try and resolve the problem; whereas in a lot of J-horror, this simply isn’t possible. And while obviously there’s a great sense of powerlessness among the characters (something that’s shown in at least two of the BODYSNATCHERS movies, among many others) it’s not the same as with J-horror. Western horror is about the fight to retain your own self, or to deal with changes in others. A lot of J-horror takes the “fight” aspect out of the equation – you can’t fight what’s happening – and thus the fear is completely down to having no control over your own fate.

  15. @Renfield: I agree with you on this one, I was also raised an atheist and can get good and creeped out by possession narratives.

    I think one interesting part of them that you didn’t touch on is this sort of fear that your kid is either sick or dying and there’s nothing you can do about it, or they’re turning into a horrible psycho right in front of you. There’s an anxiety there that I think parents can feel whether or not they really believe in demons.

  16. I agree, braak, that’s one reason THE EXORCIST is effective. It’s about a mom trying to protect her daughter. Maybe that’s one of the many reasons this doesn’t work as well. The possessed person is some psycho the cop has been tracking.

  17. I just want to take a moment and say that Rowland is right, HELLRAISER V: INFERNO (there’s no inferno in it, so maybe it’s a metaphor or something, but then again the title is all wavy like it’s really hot, so who know?) is easily the best Hellraiser sequel. It’s pretty shoddy in places, but it also has some weird surrealism which is almost Lynchian. What’s the deal with the two Asian ladies dressed like cowboys who come out of nowhere and kick Boone’s ass for no reason? I dunno, but little touches like that make it fun.

  18. I still believe that the script for HELLRAISER V was only re-written into a Hellraiser script, but yes, I love it too and expressed it several times already on here over the years.

  19. caruso_stalker217

    June 12th, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Rowland:

    I’ll go a step further and say that HELLRAISER: INFERNO is the best in the series.

  20. Unless Inferno is super awesome, I’m convinced y’all are all trolling for olives re:Hellraiser. #2 is the best of the sequels I’ve seen (the rest) in concept characterization and execution. It’s like Aliens to the original Hellraiser: more monsters, weird corporate problems, and you get to see the alien world.

  21. I haven’t seen it but it was written as a HELLRAISER sequel according to Derrickson on The Movie Crypt. He said he originally turned them down when offered a HELLRAISER sequel but then he kept thinking about it and came up with an idea.

  22. I don’t know if this makes me like the movie more, because they tried something different with the mythology, or less, because it has some crucial elements to it that feel like a bad HELLRAISER fanfiction and now that I know that they weren’t leftovers from a previous, unrelated version, it makes it a little harder to shrug them off for me.

  23. caruso_stalker217

    June 13th, 2015 at 3:38 am

    I felt it was more cohesive than the first two films, which I also like. HELLBOUND is a lot of fun and does have some really cool visuals (and the strangely erotic Skinless Julia). And while I wouldn’t accuse INFERNO of being terribly original, it’s well made, has good production values despite being the first of the series to go DTV, and is anchored by a surprisingly really strong and nuanced performance from Craig Sheffer, a.k.a. the poor man’s Stephen Dorff.

    The one real criticism I have of the film is the random scene where Sheffer gets the shit beat out of him by a couple kickboxing cowboys. I have no clue what the fuck that was about. Other than that, it’s a solid goddamn film. It’s like JACOB’S LADDER meets BAD LIEUTENANT, and if that concept doesn’t intrigue you then I don’t know what to say.

    Plus, Pinhead is in the film for all of five minutes, thank God. After enduring the godawful HELLRAISER 3 and 4 where they tried to turn him into Freddy Krueger or some shit, I’m frankly tired of the fucker. But Doug Bradley is terrific in those five minutes. It’s my favorite Pinhead performance.

  24. CJ — that’s a good point; as an actual HELLRAISER movie it ain’t that great; in fact, it’s the movie that put the whole series on the trajectory where Pinhead becomes some sort of irritating life coach out to make people learn lessons about themselves. Even if that’s what Derrickson claims, it’s hard to believe it was originally written as a Hellraiser movie, and if it was it was obviously done so by someone with no real affection for the series. (I also find it hard to believe that Derrickson –who up to that point had a fairly slim resume of directed one student movie and written URBAN LEGEND: FINAL CUT– was in a position to have studios begging him to direct movies, or in a position to turn them down if they did.) But just by itself, as a weird horror/mystery movie, it’s pretty solid.

    Caruso_Stalker: Woah woah woah, what are you, nuts!? The weirdo cowboy kung fu scene MAKES that movie!

    Since we’re on the topic, by the way; my ranking of the Hellraiser series is below. I know you didn’t ask, but I spent way too many hours of my life watching them to not bring it up at any possible opportunity:

    1: Hellraiser (obviously)

    2: Hellraiser V: Inferno
    3: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (well, what can I say. It ends badly but it’s better than people remember)
    4: Hellraiser II: Hellbound (I know people like this one but it does nothing for me. I like the labyrinth but the rest of it is pretty clunky)
    5: Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker (the last one which is even remotely watchable)
    6: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (abjectly awful, but at least sort of interesting)
    7: Hellraiser VII: Deader
    8: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld
    9: The other one, which we shall not speak it’s name, which they couldn’t even get Doug Bradley to come back for.

  25. I appreciate that Derrickson’s movies are pretty sincere, and are well made on a technical level, but they are just so dumb.

  26. caruso_stalker217

    June 14th, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Mr. S:

    HELLSEEKER was basically a remake of INFERNO

  27. caruso_stalker217

    June 14th, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Mr. S:

    HELLSEEKER was basically a remake of INFERNO with the last beeper salesman in New York in the Sheffer role. And it was terrible.

    I may have to rethink the cowboy kung fu scene.

  28. Just want to say: Vern, keep it up with the captioned photos. These cracked my ass up, big time.

  29. Thanks Jerome, I was pretty pleased with those myself.

  30. SINISTER and DELIVER US FROM EVIL are harmless if forgettable rentals, but Derrickson is good with atmosphere/mood. One can’t deny that. I’m sure his DR. STRANGE movie will be decent.

  31. Just watched this one, and I’m 100% convinced that Joel McHale singlehandedly got Derrickson the DR. STRANGE gig. Sure, Derrickson clearly has an earnest interest in the kind of 60s/70s style psychedelia and mysticism that birthed the character in the first place, but McHale’s scenes in this are the only time he displayed the slightest sense of humor, particularly of the breezy, wise-ass variety that Marvel traffics in. There’s nothing particularly funny about these scenes, but just the fact that McHale just naturally has one of the very finest smartass deliveries in the world today must have convinced the Marvel brass that Derrickson was the man to direct that “Mister Doctor” scene. That’s a good friend right there.

    Speaking of which, I’m hoping Derrickson uses his clout to get his homeboy into the MCU. Dude’s hilarious AND ripped. Isn’t there some B-list Avenger he could knock out of the park? I already found the fact that he was basically playing a RESIDENT EVIL character (a baseball cap-wearing cop with no sleeves and a preference for knives) in a super serious “based on a true story” type horror film to be far and away the most entertaining thing about this movie. Imagine what he could do in a movie that kind of character made sense in?

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