Deliver Us from Evil, a new supernatural thriller from director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister), will hit theaters on July 2. It has a fantastic cast (Eric Bana, Olivia Munn, Édgar Ramírez, Joel McHale and Sean Harris), a great premise and we wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be a crowd pleaser in the same vein as last year’s The Conjuring.
In the film, “New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Based upon the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.” Hit the jump to find out why we think it might be this summer’s surprise hit.
5: Jerry Bruckheimer
Legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been working on getting this film, an adaptation of real-life NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie’s book Beware The Night, onscreen for over a decade. Not only does Bruckheimer have an incredible track record for runaway box office success stories, he’s also known for fostering quality, critically acclaimed movies and working with auteurs like Ridley Scott. If Deliver Us From Evil is a successful marriage of those two aesthetics, it could keep audiences coming back for more as they long for a more thoughtful respite from the summer blockbuster onslaught. He’s also a powerful enough producer to protect the vision of a director like Scott Derrickson against traditional executive notes.
4: Scott Derrickson
Not only is Scott Derrickson a talented writer and director, he’s partially responsible for the wave of supernatural horror that has been connecting with audiences consistently for almost a decade. He gave us The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 2005, which was not only creepy as hell, but introduced the image of the limber limbed possession into our cultural vernacular. Derrickson is also responsible for 2012’s Sinister, one of the very few mainstream movies with imagery so creepy it kept us up at night. After honing his skills on films like these, the newly crowned director of the upcoming Doctor Strange is ready to deliver his horror masterpiece.
3: The Supernatural
While all sub-genres of horror connect intermittently with audiences, none of them have the current hold on our consciousness that supernatural horror does. Slashers come and go, but the fear of the unknown is remarkably persistent. Probably because these films engage with the spiritual questions we deal with in daily life as well as our fear of death and our collective uncertainty about the hereafter. Also, the thought of a demon or spirit invading your body is never less than unsettling.
2: The Cast
While Deliver Us From Evil boasts an impressive array of talent. Eric Bana is heavily charismatic and is just coming off the successful and intense Lone Survivor. He’ll also benefit from the real-life Ralph Sarchie, who was onset to oversee his performance and police procedure. Olivia Munn is rising fast thanks to “The Newsroom” and audiences will be curious to see the sardonic Joel McHale (“Community”) play a badass (and lethal) cop in the Bronx. For horror movies to work you have to care about the people being placed in harm’s way, and it looks like Derrickson has done an admirable job of populating his film with the right people to generate that type of connection. And don’t rule out Édgar Ramírez either, it looks like we finally have a priest with some swagger in this movie.
Also, practically a character in this movie? The Bronx. The film is shot on location there and utilizes fresh settings, like the Bronx Zoo, that haven’t been seen onscreen in over 30 years.
1: The Conjuring Effect
Last summer James Wan’s The Conjuring came out during the same time frame and ruled the box office. By the middle of the summer, audiences are hungry for something different — they need a break from caped crusaders and clanging robots. By providing thrills that get the adrenaline racing even higher than an action set piece and combining them with characters the audience actually care about, films like The Conjuring make for fantastic counterprogramming. If Deliver Us From Evil delivers the goods — and it looks like it does — you can expect to see it gain the same amount of traction.