The Devil Inside

sorel_pi

When contemplating my favorite films of the year, I keep forgetting about Life of Pi. Yet very few narrative features wowed me as much as Ang Lee’s spectacular adaptation. Given how much I enjoyed it in the theater, the film should have stuck with me more than it has. I blame the ending, which traded the magnificent visuals and wondrous sea adventure for a talky bookend that too directly spelled out the point of the story within the story. I don’t know that I’d say the ending ruined the rest of the film for me. I could go back and re-watch the whole thing and still appreciate all the effects and thrills and drama that excited me the first time around. But if that’s the stuff I want to remember first and foremost, I’ll probably have to leave a few minutes early next time. Lee surely is familiar enough with the craft of storytelling to know that endings are extremely important, that they can make or break an audience’s satisfaction with a movie by being the part that it is left with. He would presumably disagree with me that Life of Pi has a weak ending. And at least the staff of Entertainment Weekly believes the film actually has one of the best endings of the year. And that is fine, because a lot of people hated the endings of Prometheus, The Bourne Legacy and Savages, and I think those movies have three of the best endings of 2012. The […]

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2012year_worst

Years from now, cinema fanatics will probably look back at 2012 fondly, remembering that this year brought us new films from Spielberg, Bigelow, Anderson (P.T.), Haneke, Affleck, Anderson (Wes), Van Sant, Arnold, Tarantino, Johnson, and many, many more. But amidst all the good stuff (and, rest assured, there was plenty of good stuff to go around), there were plenty of rotten, silly, messy, sloppy, boring, and insulting films to fill our theaters and empty our heads. The worst, if you will. Just the worst. Settle in, gird your loins, and prepare yourself for The 12 Worst Films of 2012, as determined by your faithful Rejects. Oh, 2012, you really packed some doozies.

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The Reject Report - Large

Mark Wahlberg stared the Beast, the whole IMF team, and Dolly Parton down, and he told them to all say hi to their mothers for him. Contraband surprised everyone who thought Disney was just cashing in on easy blockbuster numbers with their 3D re-releases, and the action drama ended up taking the top spot by a nice sized margin. It’s not Wahlberg’s biggest opening to day. Far from it. But Contraband was able to serve up a number that is considered sizable especially considering its mid-January release. It also is a reasonable opening as a vehicle for Wahlberg, who has only had four films in his career open higher than $30m, The Happening ($30.5m opening), The Other Guys ($35.5m opening), The Perfect Storm ($41.3m opening), and Planet of the Apes ($68.5m opening). Needless to say, all four of those films were summer releases. While Disney didn’t match the success they had with The Lion King‘s re-release in 3-D, they did pull in some expected and flattering numbers this weekend with Beauty and the Beast. At this point, they’re just covering the conversion and re-release cost, so most of the $18.4m it made this weekend is icing on top of an already well-made cake. Disney has many more well-made cakes lined up to get their own layers of sweet stuff with Finding Nemo next up in September this year. Also, in the long run of things, Beauty and the Beast is sure to continue pulling in remarkable numbers all throughout its […]

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This week, on a very special Reject Radio, we talk with the filmmakers behind The Devil Inside about going guerrilla in Vatican City (and responding to negative reviews) and writer Derek Haas (3:10 To Yuma, Wanted) about jumping between screenwriting, short stories, and his “Silver Bear” novel series. Plus, it’s Rob Hunter vs. Robert Fure in the first Movie News Pop Quiz of the season. Let the slap fight commence! Download This Episode

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The Reject Report - Large

Apparently sometimes you can’t go back to that well too many times. Despite critics claiming it’s filled with the same old stuff, audiences weren’t scared enough to avoid The Devil Inside this weekend. In fact, not only did the film hit at #1, it’s generated the third biggest opening in January history behind Cloverfield ($40m in 2008) and Star Wars Special Edition ($35.9m in 1997). The Devil Inside showed a huge upturn in box office for exorcism movies, shadowing recent films like The Rite ($14.7m opening weekend) and The Last Exorcism ($20.3m opening weekend), both of which were PG-13 films. The Devil Inside was struck with an R rating. But we shouldn’t look to that for the reasoning behind such a lucrative opening. Instead, we have to look at the film’s ending. More so, we have to look at the buzz that was generated late last week because of The Devil Inside‘s ending. Test audiences were angry. Some even booed and yelled expletives at the screen when the film ended. A lot of this buzz came late Thursday night, and people who weren’t planning to see the movie may have changed their mind just to find out what the hell everyone was up in arms about. No, that can’t account for all of The Devil Inside‘s number. Some of that came from fans of the genre who wanted a good scare this weekend, but it had to have been a factor in some capacity. Paramount’s decision to shock people more […]

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After sitting through the snoozefest ball-kick that was The Devil Inside (refresh your memory of my disdain by giving my review another look), a large part of me hoped that I would never need to think (or write) about the film ever again. Of course, that was before the “found footage” (fauxtage! fauxtage!) flick won the box office for the weekend, despite that F CinemaScore and some of the worst buzz surrounding a film ever. Of course such insipid, uninspired filmmaking would be rewarded! And how, as director and co-writer William Brent Bell has already been signed to direct a new film for Warner Bros. You will be shocked to learn that the film will be called The Vatican, and that it will also employ the found footage style that The Devil Inside used, though it’s described as “a hybrid.” I, too, am utterly shocked! The film is still in pitch format, and Deadline Atrani describes it as “a conspiracy driven thriller” that will be penned by David Cohen. Man, William Brent Bell must really hate the Holy See.

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Boiling Point

The Devil Inside is the talk of the town for two reasons: number one, it made around $35 million in its opening weekend, which is big no matter what qualifier you tack on, but when that qualifier is a reported $1 million acquisition cost, it’s gigantic. Number two (heheh), it sucks. It sucks bad. That’s nothing new, really, as everything about The Devil Inside screams shitty movie. First of all, it’s from the team that brought you Stay Alive. Second, it’s found footage. Third, it’s an exorcism movie. I’m surprised that people went to see it, because you list those three qualities and I am about as far from interested as possible. But rather than just throw another voice on the “what the fuck” bonfire, I wanted to take a few minutes and examine what we can learn from this situation.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr looks at his list of New Year’s resolutions. However, since he was a little drunk when he wrote them and his handwriting is sloppy, he thinks it reads to “exorcise more” instead of “exercise more.” So, he hops a plane to Rome and sneaks out to the theater late at night to check out the latest first-of-the-year release, The Devil Inside. After waking up from a quick nap in the theater as a result, Kevin heads back to the states to catch some last-minute award films in limited release.

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Nearly thirteen years after The Blair Witch Project introduced the concept of “found footage” films to mainstream audiences while simultaneously harnessing the power of the burgeoning Internet to launch a massively successful viral campaign that hinged on audiences buying into the “truth” behind the film, the found fauxtage horror genre continues to chug almost unstoppably along. Unstoppably, that is, until The Devil Inside, the latest on-the-cheap pick-up from Paramount Insurge, the studio’s indie genre label formed after the massive success of the Paranormal Activity films. Like the PA films, The Devil Inside was made for little money by some scrappy filmmakers (writer Matthew Peterman and director and co-writer William Brent Bell), but unlike the PA films, The Devil Inside is almost totally void of originality, style, or even genuine scares, and we can only hope that it doesn’t spawn any of its own sequels. The film follows twentysomething Isabella Rossi (played with reasonable pluck by Fernanda Andrade), an American whose mother (Suzan Crowley) murdered three people when she was just a tot. After the murders, Maria Rossi was sent to an asylum in Italy indefinitely, a move by the government and the Catholic church that somehow never struck Isabella as questionable or weird. The Italian shuffle makes more sense, however, when Isabella’s father finally fesses up that Maria killed those three people (all clergy-people from her own church) in the middle of an exorcism. An exorcism being performed on her. Gasp. Unfortunately, within days of her pops breaking the news, […]

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The Reject Report - Large

Yes, January is a graveyard. Lots of dead bodies just getting dumped left and right A) to fill up the space and B) because some of these studios have dead bodies just laying around not making money. Such is the case with The Devil Inside, the only film getting a broad release this weekend. It doesn’t take a genius – thank God – to pick up on the fact that Mission: Impossible and Sherlock Holmes will be topping the box office once again. It’s that surefire longevity these December releases have noticed doing its best. A mockumentary about exorcisms that some studio decided to pick up won’t make much noise. But let’s see just how well it could do, shall we?

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When the theatrical trailer was released for Paramount’s upcoming horror movie The Devil Inside, I responded to it by groaning and putting my face in my hands. There wasn’t anything in the footage that made this film look any different from the one million exorcism movies or the one thousand found footage horror movies that are already out there. Was this project really necessary? Well, the new red band trailer hints that though it might not be necessary, The Devil Inside might still be pretty fun. No, there isn’t anything revolutionary going on here that’s going to separate this film from the rest of the pack in your mind, but it’s starting to look like this one goes a few steps further than the rest of the recent exorcism films as far as big time spectacle, creepy effects work, and offensive content goes. This time around we get extended bone-crunching gymnastics, camera-splattering vaginal blood, lots of action, and a bit with a baby that’s bound to give you the willies.

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Let’s go through all of the familiar horror film trailer elements that are present in this first full trailer for The Devil Inside: “actual” audio and video (check!), black and white footage of dead-eyed people screaming (check!), news footage that looks real (check!), a bunch of bewildered “experts” (check!), a deeper mystery (check!), religious underpinnings (check!), body horror (check!), creepy hospitals (check!), dark and dank basements (check!), and a real disdain for anyone who is a skilled contortionist (check!). What may have once served a sideshow diversion is now proof positive that someone is possessed by the devil, and horror tropes that may have once seemed fresh are now rung out for paint-by-the-numbers flicks. The latest “found footage” (let’s just put “found fauxtage” into use right now, okay?) film from Paramount, The Devil Inside, focuses the very en vogue trend of exorcisms gone awry. It specifically focuses on a woman whose own mother is believed to have murdered three people during her own exorcism, and her subsequent obsession with other attempts to knock the devil out of people. Check out the trailer for The Devil Inside after the break. Those of you afraid of carnie folk may want to cover your eyes.

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