A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Devil Inside is a graphic demon possession/exorcist movie presented in fake-documentary style -- much like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, or The Last Exorcism. It pretends to be real and has a website that viewers can visit to find out more about the "victims" and their stories. Expect lots of scary and disturbing sequences (especially one that shows a possessed priest trying to drown a baby), jump-out-of-your-seat shocks, heavy blood, and dead bodies. There's also strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), some innuendo and sexual banter, and cigarette smoking in one scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) was a child, her mother went crazy and killed three priests during an exorcism. Now, as an adult, Isabella wants to visit her mother in Rome and try to unravel the mystery of what happened, hoping to prevent the same thing from happening again. She learns that her mother may be possessed, but that the church probably won't help her. Accompanied by her cameraman, Michael (Ionut Grama), Isabella turns to a couple of young priests, Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), who specialize in cases that the church has ignored or turned down. Unfortunately, Isabella's mother seems to have more than one demon inside her, and these demons are looking for a new home.
Is it any good?
The "fake documentary horror film" genre seems to have totally run its course, creativity-wise, and THE DEVIL INSIDE is no exception. It re-uses the same ideas again and again, such as trying to fool the audience into thinking the events are real. It barely cooks up any kind of character or dramatic arc, even though Andrade has wonderful screen presence and the two priest characters share an interesting moral conundrum.
That said, the movie still has some authentic scares, mainly through a lack of background score music and through long takes on the hand-held cameras. The rhythms are unpredictable, and it's never quite clear when something is going to suddenly jump up or switch gears. And indeed, this movie has a few decent tricks up its sleeve. But it ends in an unsatisfying manner, having left several stones unturned and several ideas untapped.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: January 6, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: May 15, 2012
- Cast: Evan Helmuth, Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman
- Director: William Brent Bell
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing violent content and grisly images, and for language including some sexual references
For kids who love scares
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.