Cops and Demons (Deliver Us From Evil, 2014)

Deliver_Us_From_Evil_PosterOpening in Iraq, some soldiers discover a strange cave. Inside they encounter something unnatural. The film then picks up with Ralph Sarchie a few years later. He is giving mouth to mouth to what is revealed to be an infant…unsuccessfully.

Sarchie is a man dealing with facing a very dark world that has tested his faith and left him feeling hopeless and empty. His partner (Community’s Joel McHale) takes a lighter view of life and his wife would like him to open up and be a part of their life.

When Sarchie find himself facing a set of crimes with seemingly impossible to explain aspects, he gets connected to Father Mendoza. The Priest is familiar with one of their suspects, Jane.  He becomes Sarchie’s educator in the spiritual world.

Like the Conjuring films, Deliver Us From Evil is based on the stories of a real guy. Ralph Sarchie is now retired, but became a Catholic Demonologist.  Not unlike Ed and Lorraine Warren, it is pretty hard not to believe that their stories are a bit…exaggerated.  And I have no doubt that Derrickson and screenwriter Paul Harris Boardman take liberties.

Sean Harris makes for a freaky victim of possession and I am a fan of Eric Bana who gives Sarchie a rough and weary edge.McHale brings some comedy, but he also proves himself capable in the drama.  Olivia Munn does not get a ton to do, but she has a nice scene with Bana where he pours out his sense of futility about the world…sharing all the thinks he has kept bottle up inside to protect her.

Yeah, the films finale gets a little crazy, but Derrickson knows what he is aiming for (a horror movie with a tale of redemption) and mostly hits the mark with a dramatic and entertaining film.

Deadly Dolly Begin Again (Annabelle: Creation, 2017)

Annabelle_Creation_PosterWhen they announced Annabelle: Creation, I really thought it was a complete start over, ignoring the previously released film which was…not as successful.  Since Annabelle was a prequel to the Conjuring (of a sorts) I had not expected a prequel to the prequel.  But Annabelle: Creation is connected to it’s predecessor.

Opening in 1943, we meet Doll maker Samuel Mullins and his wife Esther.  They adore their young daughter Bee.  When she is killed in a tragic accident they are broken hearted.  The film jumps ahead twelve years and the Mullins have opened their home up to a Nun and several orphan girls.  Samuel still seems a broken man, and explains his wife is unable to get around much, due to an accident years before.  There is one rule given by Samuel, to avoid a certain room.

But curiosity gets the best of young Janice, who opens the door to discover a doll sitting in a chair. This soon results in all sorts of strange events, sitings and soon Janice claims to be seeing the ghost of Bee.  Things escalate into a frightening fight for survival by the young girls and their nun.

Annabelle: Creation is a marked improvement for this part of the Conjuring Universe.  The rural setting creates an eerie sense of isolation that has a lot of impact.  There are plenty of jumps and legit scares in the film.  The demon tied to the doll is a classic demon you might see in a cathedral painting, which is fitting with the Christianity themed spirituality.  The Mullins are a tragic couple who we discover were so overcome in their grief, they allowed darker spiritual forces into their home and paid a terrifying price.

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