Starring Eric Bana, Olivia Munn, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale; director Scott Derrickson; running time 118 minutes; rated R for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout and language; D
"Deliver Us from Evil" takes a very long time to deliver us from dullness. This demonic possession police procedural only gets good and wound up for its third-act exorcism.
That's when Edgar Ramirez, as a chain-smoking, whisky-loving Jesuit priest, stops phoning it in and gets wound up himself. As Mendoza, (he's too hip to go by "Father"), he's offered his services to the puzzled cop, Sgt. Sarchie (Eric Bana).
But the doubting Sarchie makes us play the "how long before the cop gets around to calling the helpful priest" game as civilians - Iraq War vets - start showing signs of supernatural evil.
The foreshadowing is obvious in this "inspired by the real Sarchie" account (a real New York cop who's seen "The Exorcist" a few too many times, judging from this). We hear him say "I hate cats," his daughter wonder "Why doesn't Daddy come to church with us?" and we know every one of those is a plot point that comes back for a cheap scare or an attempted jolt. Overwhelming its other shortcomings is the Scott Derrickson film's agonizing lack or urgency.
Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers