The “deliver us from evil” segment of the Lord’s Prayer has been used as the title of at least five movies, two albums, one song, and two books. It’s an evocative phrase, so it makes sense. The latest movie called Deliver Us from Evil comes out this week, and it’s a hybrid of the horror, crime and “based on a true story” genres. It’s adapted from “Beware the Night,” a book by NYPD policeman-turned-demonologist Ralph Sarchie, which details his supposed encounters with the paranormal in the course of his police work. How much credibility the viewer lends to Sarchie likely depends on their flavor of religious belief. Regardless of how believable the film is, its reception has not been kind.
So instead, seek out an Oscar-nominated documentary with the same name. This one is about real religion-related acts of evil.
The 2006 Deliver Us from Evil looks at the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal by focusing on the case of one man: Oliver O’Grady, who raped at least 25 Northern California children between the late ’70s and early ’90s in the course of his service as a priest. As both he and his now-grown victims and their families attest, his hideous crimes were never particularly well-hidden. Whenever his offenses came to light, O’Grady’s superiors would hush things up and move him to a different parish. It is a micro view of how institutions work to protect themselves, and how ordinary people are the ones who suffer the consequences.