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FLIX: 'Deliver Us From Evil' delivers terrifying thrills

June 25, 2014 at 1:25 a.m.

A baffled Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) studies bizarre words and symbols and hears strange sounds from behind the wall in Screen Gems' "Deliver Us From Evil."

"The devil is real and is very active in your life. Knowing your enemy is a must in order to defeat him." - Ralph Sarchie, retired New York Police Department sergeant

Scott Derrickson, the writer and director of "Sinister" and "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose," based his new horror-thriller on the book "Beware the Night" by retired New York Police Department Sgt. Ralph Sarchie and co-author Lisa Collier, which documents real cases investigated by Sarchie that deal with the supernatural.

Eric Bana plays the officer, and Joel McHale plays his partner, Butler.

Working the overnight shift in the Bronx, the two have witnessed some horrific crimes, but lately, they have investigated some bizarre cases, including a family sleeping together in one room because they claim their house is haunted.

The two are called to the Bronx Zoo in the middle of the night (very creepy) after a woman calmly threw her child into the lions' den. The lady is still there, mumbling to herself, and looks completely deranged, so she's sent to a psychiatric hospital.

A priest named Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) is familiar with the woman and suggests to Sarchie that she may not be crazy but possessed by the devil. Sarchie, of course, is skeptical and resists the priest's assessment, but a series of frightening events leads Sarchie to begin to question his beliefs.

The film plays more like a solid thriller than straight horror, with great performances by the cast. There are truly some frightening moments in the film that include a climactic exorcism scene that involves Sarchie and Mendoza. Since the majority of the film takes place at night, the atmosphere is genuinely eerie, and the story line is very disturbing, so Derrickson doesn't have to rely on cheap scares to startle the audience.

Rating: 31/2

Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society and juror at the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival. He reviews films every Friday on Hit Radio 104.7 KVIC. Contact Joe at



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