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Watch this underrated movie before it gets pulled from Netflix

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Deliver Us From Evil checks a lot of boxes.

It’s based on a true story. It fits into the exorcism genre. It’s directed by a man dependable for horror, the man behind Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and also Doctor Strange since we’re on the topic. It’s got blood, it’s got gore, and it’s leaving Netflix on April 13th. It is pretty disturbing, which is probably why it isn’t as popular as its other horror counterparts.

What makes Deliver Us From Evil special

The story revolves around Ralph Sarchie, a rugged NYPD cop haunted at all times by his personal failings and inner demons. Played with the usual high-impact style by Eric Bana, Sarchie finds himself dragged unwittingly — at first — into an almost unimaginably frightening world of demonic possession and supernatural horror as a result of a spate of bizarre crimes in the city.

The film begins in Iraq. A group of US Marines ambush a firefight and venture into a cave before the screen cuts to black, and a lot of screaming ensues. Fast forward to present-day New York City where we meet our protagonist, Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana): a former Marine and a tough-as-nails NYPD sergeant who’s been struggling with his faith ever since his wife (Olivia Munn) got pregnant with their daughter.

deliver us from evil

Sarchie and Butler (Joel McHale) get to work investigating a series of bizarre crimes that seem to be related to the supernatural. One case is domestic violence; a wife is attacked by her husband, a former Marine who acted out of character. Another is a woman who throws her toddler into the lion’s den at the zoo.

As he probes deeper into these cases, Sarchie ends up crossing paths with Joe Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), an unconventional Jesuit priest. Mendoza has a theory that demonic possession is behind these crimes. Sarchie is against this theory until strange incidents begin happening at home, and Sarchie starts seeing people in police footage that only he can see. Reluctantly, Sarchie agrees to team up with Mendoza.

What makes this movie shine for me is how it looks at horror in a very down-to-earth way.

Shooting on location in a convincingly gritty New York City makes the appearance of demonic elements all the more unnerving when they start to be thrown in. Plus, what really gets at you is that these scares are slow-moving and intended to disturb you deeply, not your typical jump scares.

I’d like to warn you that the film is definitely on the grungier side. Though most horror movies are going to get a little unappetizing at times, Deliver Us From Evil is more of that than normal. Does it have as much gore as Evil Dead, or is it as disturbing as Hereditary? No, but it does get pretty violent.

What I look for in a horror movie is the chance to settle down, get gently scared, and then stumble upon a story amid chaos and demonic possessions. Does it jump in and throw dismembered arms and bloodshot eyes at me, or does it build and build, with every scene warning me of how violent the last 20 minutes will get?

I would say Deliver Us From Evil is a film that meets most of these expectations. Sure, there’s a bloodied arm here or there, but it does build, and there is an interesting story to uncover.

deliver us from evil

Eric Bana is simply amazing in the role of Sarchie, bringing a raw and arduous intensity that truly sells his character’s inner turmoil. His is not the only great performance in the film, however — Edgar Ramirez as Joe Mendoza (an unconventional priest who goes to fight evil with Sarchie) is equally top drawer.

Let’s talk about Sarchie’s kid for a second. Even though she doesn’t exactly get a lot of screen time, I’d say the two not-gory-but-still scare scenes in the movie really shake you up because she’s in it. And if she looks familiar, it’s because she was the lead in Annabelle: Creation and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Her roles always give me the creeps, even when she’s playing someone who isn’t in the process of being possessed by Annabelle.

Deliver Us From Evil is a film about the eternal struggle between good and bad.

If you’re not seeking a horror film with non-stop thrills and gory scares all the way through, Deliver Us From Evil is not your cup of tea. It’s not your family horror movie with lots of jumpscares and a neat little team of paranormal researchers who step in to save you from a wronged ghost from the 1950s. It does get into some very heavy themes and leaves you with plenty to contemplate afterward.

Deliver Us From Evil is a film about the eternal struggle between good and bad — with questions being asked about faith, redemption, and human wickedness, with no clear-cut answers.

If you’re looking for a horror movie that breaks the mold and you don’t mind a bit of a slower pace, then I cannot recommend Deliver Us From Evil enough. It is criminally underrated, and it certainly deserves more attention. But as already mentioned, it’s leaving Netflix come April 13th — so if you intend to appreciate it, do it while you still can.

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