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13 Days to Halloween: 'Deliver Us from Evil' is one of the best exorcism films ever

New DelhiWritten By: Kshitij Mohan RawatUpdated: Oct 19, 2022, 02:48 PM IST
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In 'Deliver Us from Evil', the horror veteran Scott Derrickson ('Sinister' and 'The Black Phone') shows supreme command over the style and mood needed for a story of Biblical redemption. He crafts an atmosphere that feels creepy even before anything supernatural has reared its head. The ambiance and general feel of the film alone makes the film worth its two hours.

For the '13 Days to Halloween' series, I collect, watch, and write about 13 brilliant and spooky 'underseen' movies that more people need to see. Note that I did not use the term 'underrated', as I believe they were just overlooked for various reasons, and not necessarily rated lower than they deserve. The films are ranked worst to best, in my opinion. The series will end on October 31 with the film that I think is the best and scariest little-known horror flick.

The marketing of 'Deliver Us from Evil' claimed that it was, and I am just paraphrasing, based on a true story. To me, the veracity of a horror film's story does not matter much, so long as it is substantial and delivers, pun unintended, on the scares. Based on a book called 'Beware the Night' by a retired NYPD detective Ralph Sarchie and journalist Lisa Collier Cool, the film has at its centre an exorcism. It is also about a man finding his religion back. 

Directed by Scott Derrickson, 'Deliver Us from Evil' is rooted in Christian themes (the title comes from the Matthew 6:13 verse: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil). We follow Sarchie (Eric Bana), an NYPD sergeant, who is a veteran with the force and is no stranger to unimaginably horrifying crimes that would chill one to the bone. All that has taken a toll on him psyche. He also does not have the comfort of religion, and his cynicism with respect to humanity is bordering on nihilism. But after all he has seen, he is not prepared for a series of events that makes him rethink his beliefs. He comes across acts of crime that shake even his jaded soul. Will he continue to defy God or will accept His embrace?

Horror veteran Derrickson ('Sinister' and 'The Black Phone') shows supreme command over the style and mood needed for a story of Biblical redemption. He crafts an atmosphere that feels creepy even before anything supernatural has reared its head. The ambiance and general feel of the film alone makes the film worth its two hours.

And then comes the exorcism scene. 'Deliver Us from Evil' has an exorcism scene towards the end that finally solidifies Sarchie's beliefs in the existence of God. I say this with straight face: it is the best exorcism scene since 1973's 'The Exorcist'. It is bravura, balls to the wall filmmaking that will leave you gasping for breath.

Like I said earlier, it does not matter overmuch to me whether 'Deliver Us from Evil' is a true story or not. I am a sceptic. But I adored the film. If you have not seen it, give 'Deliver Us from Evil' a watch.

Watch the film on Netflix.