[Screen It]


(2011) (Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman) (R)

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Horror: A young woman hires two young exorcists to determine if her locked-away mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed.
It's 2009 and Isabella Rossi (FERNANDA ANDRADE) is a young woman who has traveled to Rome with documentary filmmaker Michael (IONUT GRAMA) to determine if her locked-away mother, Maria (SUZAN CROWLEY), is mentally ill or demonically possessed. Ten years ago, she murdered two priests and a nun who were trying to perform an exorcism on her. The Vatican has refused to do anything with Maria and thus she's heavily sedated in a nearby mental hospital. Isabella goes to meet her there, but the woman acts in such a way that makes her daughter seek out some experts in the field.

She manages to get exorcist Ben (SIMON QUARTERMAN) and ordained priest David (EVAN HELMUTH) to look into her case as they try to help out people the Church won't in such regards. With the discovery that Maria might be possessed by multiple demons -- a hazardous condition as sometimes they'll jump into other people -- the duo set out to free the woman from her demonic entrapment, all while Isabella worries and Michael captures everything on multiple video cameras.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics (or are done so late the night before they open) is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Nature has its apex predators and thus it's no surprise that much of humankind still possesses that instinct to be "king of the hill." Thus, there will always be individuals, teams, organizations and creations thereof that try to knock the known leader off whatever perch they or it might be seated upon.

In the movies, there's usually one standard-bearer in each genre that newcomers are gunning for. Such is the case in the demonic possession sub-chapter of the horror genre. Ever since Linda Blair did the head-spinning, pea soup spewing thing back in 1973's "The Exorcist," other such films have come along attempting to scare viewers (and scare up big bucks) like that flick did so long ago. Many have come and gone without success and that will certainly be the case with "The Devil Inside."

Mercifully short (at 83-some minutes including credits), the movie offers up the usual stuff that we've seen countless times before (foul language coming from innocent mouths, painfully contorted bodies and the demon knowing secrets about those in the room, etc.). But it lacks any genuine scares and sadly isn't campy enough to enjoy on that level.

While it has marginally enough creepy moments to keep one from desiring to pull a Father Karras and throw themselves out the window and down those Georgetown steps (which, by the way, were just around the corner from our screening), this is just a lame wannabe poseur that also steals from the now overused and well-worn "found documentary footage" format. Hopefully no one will find the reels from "The Devil Inside II." Part I rates as a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed January 5, 2012 / Posted January 6, 2012

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