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The Devil Inside

The faithful are advised to reject this poorly executed exorcism thriller

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The opening shot, simply of words on the screen, is meant to tantalize: "The Vatican did not endorse this film nor aid in its completion." For once, I couldn't agree more with the Pope and his robed brethren; I, too, cannot endorse this jumbled mess of an exorcism thriller that — spoiler alert — has no completion.

The two-cent plot finds an American woman named Isabella reuniting with her mother at a Roman mental institution. (Twenty years back, mom slaughtered two priests and a nun, who might or might not have been trying to get a demon out of her.) Wondering whether her mom is indeed possessed, Isabella enlists the services of two exorcising priests (who share a Rome apartment in a kind of devil-be-damned bromance), plus a videographer to film it all.

William Brent Bell's film blithely lifts bits and pieces of plot from The Exorcist (naturally), other faux documentaries and even last January's renegade-priests-exorcising-in-Rome clunker, The Rite. It's a lot shaky-cam footage as we suffer through a couple of exorcisms — same old bed-thumping and garbled profanities from the afflicted while the padres wave crucifixes around. Then, there's the emotional and moral dissolution of Team Exorcism, including the Worst Baptism Ever. Could this be a case of demonic transference? 

Gosh, we'll never really know, because after only 74 minutes the film just abruptly stopped, without resolution. Verily, the shrieks and wailing of the demonically possessed on screen was nothing compared to the howl that arose from the audience.

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