Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'Devil's Due' follows 'Paranormal' found-footage template

Zach Gilford and Allison Miller play unfortunate parents-to-be Zach and Sam in Twentieth Century Fox´s ´Devil´s Due.´
Zach Gilford and Allison Miller play unfortunate parents-to-be Zach and Sam in Twentieth Century Fox's 'Devil's Due.' MICHELE SHORT

A Rosemary's Baby for the Paranormal Activity generation, Devil's Due uses the increasingly unimaginative found-footage gimmick to try to juice up the tired trope of a woman carrying a demonic fetus.

That's not a spoiler. The movie's two-word title is the world's shortest plot synopsis, and the trailer gives away even more. What few surprises lie in store arrive very late in the film, and consist of generic supernatural horror cliches (subgenre: the occult). In other words, expect arcane religious symbols, Latin incantations, and levitation.

To the film's credit, the appealing young performers Zach Gilford and Allison Miller are well cast as newlyweds Zach and Sam, who find themselves expecting a child after a drunken night on the town in a creepy subterranean nightclub while on their honeymoon. Most of the film is presented as Zach's home movies, though directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who worked together on V/H/S) supplement that with footage from other cameras.

Conveniently for the filmmakers, Zach and Sam's house gets broken into shortly after they learn she's pregnant, and several Paranormal Activity-style surveillance cameras are hidden by the intruders, unbeknownst to Zach and Sam. This results in a movie that, as with most other examples of the genre, looks like it was shot by a 13-year-old with a $2,000 gift card from Best Buy.

There's virtually no suspense here. For the first two-thirds of the movie, weird - yet entirely predictable - things start happening to Sam. First, there's a nosebleed, then unexplained bruising, followed by uncharacteristic outbursts of rage and sudden cravings for raw meat (whether in the form of steak tartare in the grocery store meat section or an impromptu snack of freshly harvested venison from the local park). "Something's wrong!" wails Sam. Ya think?

It's more silly than scary.

 

MOVIE REVIEW

"Devil's Due" * (out of four stars)

With Zach Gilford and Allison Miller. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. 89 minutes. Rating: R (obscenity, violence, and gore). Playing at area theaters.

 

Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post
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