And so 2012 begins with "The Devil Inside".


Yes, this is the first official review of 2012 and, as is usually the case... it's a film by a very little know director with a cast of very little known actors.


In case you're new to CinemaTrek, I call this the silly season; the time of year most film releases are experiments by small studios or bait by larger studios looking for an accidental hit. The history of Januaray/February movies is interesting. You have Oscar winners such as "Silence of the Lambs" and [probably] "Rango". Then you have crap like "The Green Hornet" and "Cloverfield".

"The Devil Inside" is [drum roll please] a demonic possession/exorcism film. If you recall, last year (2011) Anthony Hopkins' "The Rite" bowed about this time and it too was about exorcism. sadly, this is not "The Rite".


A woman named Maria Rosa (Suzan Crowly) calls the police and informs them that she has just whacked three people. When police arrive, sure enough they find a blood strewn remains of three people and Maria off in another zone - much like Renfield from the 1931 "Dracula". Maria's crime is so grotesque that she is immediately shipped off to an insane asylum in Italy ala Dr. Hannibal Lecter (only she's not having nearly as much fun).


The film fast forwards to her adult daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) who has decided to take up her mother's cause. This is not an altruistic motive, she is actually concerned if her mother's mental condition is hereditary. But her research turns up that the murders took place during an exorcism - which is interesting only because it flies in the face of everything we know about exorcisms from other exorcism movies. Usually the possessed person can only kill one... maybe two... exorcists. It is unheard of to wipe out three at once.


With the company of friend (Ionut Grama) who doubles as a filmmaker, Isabella visits the asylum to get answers. Once in Rome, she hooks up with a couple of exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) who take up where Hopkins left [last year]. They are determined to educate Maria as to the powers of possession and the counter power of exorcism.

It is at this point that director William Bell decides to dip into the horror movie bag-o-tricks and pull out all the current special effects including the body twisting and other neat anatomical devices currently available to the low budget filmmaker.


And don't be fooled, the biggest part of this films budget is travel allowance to Italy and Romania. But we won't begrudge a minor director the opportunity to make a movie and see the world. However, it would have been more effective to include more scenes of the cityscapes. But with the ever popular jitter-cam we probably wouldn't have been able to distinguish landmarks anyway.


Herein lies the problem with the film: same old story, same old effects, can't see shit!


To their credit Andrade, Quarterman and Helmuth are able to keep straight faces while emoting their lines. I've always felt the actors in bad movies don't get the credit they deserve for not busting out in laughter!


"The Devil Inside" brings absolutely nothing new to the table. It is merely occupying a seat with the hope some scraps from better films fall onto the empty plate.   -- GEOFF BURTON