1/2 (out of 5)
January 17, 2014
Allison Miller as SAMANTHA MCCALL
Zach Gilford as ZACH MCCALL
Sam Anderson as FATHER THOMAS
Roger Payano as CAB DRIVER
Vanessa Ray as SUZIE
Satan as THE BABY
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
If anything positive comes out of “Devil’s Due,” it’s that the moviegoing audience might find religion, if for no other reason than to pray to God that this hellish abortion of a movie ends soon.
Just when you thought the found footage trend was waning, 2014 delivers two terrible films in January… and it’s only three weeks in. However, “Devil’s Due” is even worse than the painfully nauseating and pedantic “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” because it actually thinks it’s doing something innovative.
It’s not. Not at all. “Devil’s Due” takes all the cliches of the found footage genre and throws them in the blender with all the cliches of the devil baby genre, churns them on high and pours it all out to be an ugly stain on the carpet. Even with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s experience with the surprisingly innovative “V/H/S” a couple years back, they can’t muster any creativity for this new film. Indeed, they rip off their own “V/H/S” segment and deliver an ending that I’ve pretty much already seen before.
“Devil’s Due” tells the story of a young married couple. The husband Zach (Zach Gilford) has the annoying desire to videotape every aspect of their life. After an international honeymoon where they are drugged and taken to the devil’s rape room (which they conveniently forget but don’t check Zach’s unending footage to find out what actually happened that night until months later), they discover that they’re pregnant.
At first, while unexpected, the pregnancy is welcomed. However, over the months, the wife Samantha (Allison Miller) begins to act strange. Soon, Zach wonders if she might be carrying the Antichrist, and eventually all hell breaks loose.
Everything you’d expect from awful found footage is apparent. We have Zach nonsensically proclaiming his need to videotape everything. However, when the boundaries of reality are stretched so far with this premise, the movie cuts randomly to security footage and video cameras that have no business being there. This begs the question for every found footage movie… who exactly is finding all this found footage, anyway?
The acting is terrible, featuring the leads struggling to improv their way through what I assume is plot elements throughout the script. Like most actors, Miller and Gilford overwrite their own dialogue, painfully extending narration of what happens on screen and fill the dead air. It’s like listening to a really bad mumblecore movie.
But beyond the technical problems with acting, scripting and the obvious cinematography ugliness, “Devil’s Due” offers characters with no appeal whatsoever. Sure, take a pretty girl and put in her pregnancy peril, and you’ll get some natural defense mechanism sympathy. However, the characters are so dull and boring that I couldn’t even focus on their day-to-day dialogue. Add to this the fact that they make insanely stupid decisions throughout (and I’m talking stupid decisions, even for a horror movie), and you’ve got a movie with no emotional connection.
Like other terrible found footage movies, characterization is swapped with voyeurism while the couple have inane conversations. Watching the honeymoon footage was like watching the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex tape… without the sex.
Sure, there’s some great things happening elsewhere in the world of horror movies right now – both in the independent field and from the major studios as well. Here, “Devil’s Due” represents everything lazy and derivative about the genre.