The Devil Inside
Zach Davis

Directed by: William Brent Bell

Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, and Susan Crowley

It seems every year there is a new film out about possession and exorcism, with very few offering new perspectives or insights.  The Devil Inside is another one of these movies although it offers a bit of originality given that it’s presented in the format of a documentary.  This documentary style helps make the movie seem more real and authentic.  However, the storyline that the film follows is well treaded territory.

In 1989, Maria Rossi (Susan Crowley) murders three clergymen who were performing an exorcism on her.  She is then transported all the way to Rome to be institutionalized.  In 2009 Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade), Maria’s daughter, learns from her dying father of her mother’s struggle with possession.  This leads her to hire a filmmaker, Michael (Ionut Grama), to accompany her to Italy to make a documentary investigating the legitimacy of exorcisms.  While in Italy, the pair meets two priests, Ben (Simon Quaterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), who agree to help them with their film.  The two priests reveal that they have been carrying out exorcisms unbeknownst to the Church, and even invite the filmmakers along to join them during one. 

After seeing an exorcism, Isabella becomes convinced that her mother is possessed and pleads with Ben and David to assess her mother’s situation.  While performing tests on Maria, it becomes very clear to the two priests that they are dealing with something worse than they’ve ever experienced.  After they’ve completed the tests, David immediately begins to act strangely.  It seems that whatever might have been in Maria is now taking a shot at some new prey.

For what they had in The Devil Inside, the cast did a fine job.  William Brent Bell captures real fear in parts of the film.  He does a better job in showing how such events take a toll on the lives of those close to the possessed.  These events inflict deep wounds that lead to many frustrations.

Two cast members stand out above the pack.  Susan Crowley was truly possessed as Maria and portrayed a long tormented soul quite well.  Evan Helmuth, on the other hand, transitioned from normalcy to a sudden loss of control.  The one truly terrifying part in this film came from his character.

While The Devil Inside was entertaining, it did feel like previously released films centered on exorcisms.  All these types of flicks hide around a veil of truth, and end up delivering the same thing.  But this is nothing a few cocktails can’t help to correct.