Inspired by true events (we all know that means, tsk tsk), this horror mockumentary combines lost video tape footage related to the 1989 slaying of three clergy members by Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) and current recorded sessions with her daughter, Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade), who, two decades later, seeks out her mother in a mental institution in Italy. She enlists the help of a cameraman and two priests, Father Ben Rawlings and Father David Keane, who are in the business of performing unauthorized exorcisms, to assess Maria and determine whether or not she is, in fact, insane or possessed by a demon.
The film opens with a 911 call made by Maria followed by a walkthrough of the very bloody crime scene. What ensues is an hour of really frickin’ boring cinema. Had I not been at the theater with other people, I would have left after the first 15 minutes. I wanted to play Boggle on my phone to help pass the time but I was too busy giving the guy behind me dirty looks for kicking my seat every five minutes. So I toughed it out and, toward the end, I was rewarded with some high-tension, nail-biting moments that filled me with the sort of dread that most of the horror flicks these days fail to (or simply don’t know how to) deliver. It’s a shame that at the peak of The Devil Inside, it crashes and burns before you can say, “Connect the cuts.” Letdown is an understatement.
There are no real scares except for a barking dog that scared the living daylights out of 95% of the audience. Very effective but not exactly the scare I was hoping for. There is, however, a decent amount of disturbing content in the form of a possessed victim suffering through a grotesque contortionist act and Cowley’s powerhouse performance as Maria Rossi. Unfortunately, Andrade is stoic and lackluster and Quarterman as Father Ben takes his role a little too seriously.
I’m trying to be fair but I’m not a fan of horror mockumentaries (didn’t care for Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, or The Blair Witch Project). Why the name Maria Rossi was used is a mystery to me. (Maria Rossi did commit a murder along with her friend, Christina Molloy, but it was an elderly woman, not three clergy.) Proceed to The Rossi Files website with caution, especially the visitor comments section.
Categories: Horror+, Movie Reviews
Tags: 1½ out of 5 Stars, 2012, Horror, Rated R
Comments: Say Something.