The second "found footage" of the month covers the demonic pregnancy of a newlywed couple in Devil's Due. In a growing pool of mediocrity in the genre, can it make it's own memorable stamp on the horror genre? Or is it another uninspiring drop? 411's Terry Lewis has a date with the devil
Zach Gilford - Zach McCall Allison Miller - Samantha McCall Sam Anderson - Father Thomas Aimee Carrero - Emily Vanessa Ray - Suzie
No, not the actual editor of the team behind this yet another "found footage" movie. Who edited the recorded footage of the film's protagonist with all the other crazy CCTV and secret cameras clips together to construct the narrative? Probably one of the coppers at the end in some sick snuff film to show round the station. Regardless, it's one of the slickest things about this film but not that Devil's Due is a bad film, I struggling to find much to recommend about this horror outing.
On the last night of the honeymoon, bring it upon himself newlywed Zach (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights) drags his unwilling wife Samantha (Allison Miller, Kings) to a taxi driver's underground rave lair where they party. Unfortunatly, Sam gets kidnappped and a ritual is performed on her unknowingly yet it's managed to be captured on tape. The happy couple soon find out they're expecting their first baby yet with Sam's weird mood swings, some odd goings on and a cult seem to hanging around like flies. After a variety of escalating demonic hijinx, Zach seeks help whilst Sam battles to keep her emotions and the supposed spawn from Satan in check.
Despite a gloriously wooden acting feel throughout, Gilford and Miller do an alright job to convince you of their plight. The first person pieces to camera help alot actuallly in a rare occasion of "found footage" films actually managing to convey emotion from the cast. Be warned though, it's not high end acting masterclasses here - Merely servicable. They do keep up the awful habit of any excuse to walk around with a video camera ("We must document our family history!") and even pulls a supreme dick move by managing to sneak one of those secret camera as a recording medium. Got to have some sort of evolution somewhere I guess.
I do like the logic in this film. There's no messing about in Devil's Due with characters do things you'd be pulling your hair out at other "found footage" movies. I could kiss Zach for deciding to rewind his honeymoon videos to find anything untoward after life getting a bit more demonic. That said, there's a horrible, unsubtle glowing demon circle which will put you on Planet Namek from Dragonball Z and take you out of the film for a period with it's Over 9000 power charging roar. Oh and he doesn't do what any sane person would do and freak TFO over discovering the first actual filming of a demon summoning.
That's probably the worst visual in the entire film though. Otherwise, the cinematography is probably the best I've seen in the "found footage" genre. Not that's any major precedent but everything is clear and you can tell people's emotions. In fact, some of the effects are nice enough with the pictures flying off walls. The camera tends to not capture the main focus at times though like the house falling down around Zach at the end which beggars belief of how this got to the final OK stage.
The biggest failing though is that there's nothing new here. Horror as a genre is a massive toybox of ideas to play about with, not to rehash over and over again. There's a few cues from Paranormal Activity with the house being set up with secret cameras and the devil spawn and cult hanging round the plot is straight out of Rosemary's Baby. I suppose that's what people want from a typical horror. It's got all the hallmarks of a demon based horror - things fly off walls, there's cult scrawlings on floors and murmurings of ash around the devil - but I just wanted something a bit more out of this to be honest. There's some odd double takes with the weird opening with Zach drunkenly stalking Sam on the night before their wedding, which is a new level of fear I guess. Otherwise, business as usual.
The ending hints at it's about to start all over again but that's spoilt for the audience twice in the pre-credits role and some guff by the elder priest halfway through. Bit weird to flat out say it. Plus, not that I want to think too much about an average horror film and it's message, but wouldn't just one antichrist be another to take over the world? What real benefit would you need for more than one spawn of Satan? Just seems like bloody excess to me. The name is a bit crap as well thinking about it. I mean Devil's Due? Surely that means the Devil is due to give birth itself right? Yeah yeah, there's the "Give the devil it's due" pun but that doesn't work with the miracle of childbirth.
The 411: Not terrible at all but Devil's Due doesn't exactly do anything massively original either. The smooshing of protagonist's "found footage" with other angles like CCTV is kinda cool and the cinematography is alright, but there's nothing new to get excited about. A typical demon cult horror film with no fresh angles to propel the genre forward, yet it's not the worst "found footage" film I've seen and it's inoffensive enough.