Sponsor

New Release Review - Devil's Due

newlywed couple experience increasingly strange occurrences throughout their pregnancy.

Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Allison Miller, Zach Gilford, Steffie Grote, Sam Anderson


On the eve of his wedding to Samantha (Miller), camera enthusiast Zach (Gilford) produces a camera and announces his intention to document their life from that point forward. As a wedding present, Zach receives a button-cam, which he wears during their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. On the last night of the honeymoon a taxi driver takes the couple to a mysterious club where they pass out and glimpses of a strange ritual are revealed to the audience through Zach's still rolling camera. Upon their return to America, Samantha discovers she is pregnant, sparking a chain of increasingly strange events.
As far back as a couple of years ago, around the time of release of Paranormal Activity 3, most of us were declaring that the found-footage craze had most definitely burnt itself out. Yet here we are, a mere two weeks into 2014 and already we've had two wide release found-footage horrors, the bland and unoriginal Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and now the equally bland and unoriginal Devil's Due.
The film-makers behind this latest entry in the sub-genre that just won't die previously went under the moniker of the Radio Silence collective: directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, producer Chad Villela and visual effects supervisor Justin Martinez. Under their previous guise they dipped their toes into first-person horror waters with the final segment of the 2012 anthology V/H/S. That short, featuring Satanic rituals and house-destroying effects, now feels like a dry run for Devil's Due, which sees them work on a much larger budget.
Had this film arrived four years earlier we may have been impressed but after five entries in the Paranormal Activity series and countless imitations filling DVD bargain bins, Devil's Due feels highly derivative. It's essentially Rosemary's Baby with shaky-cam, a concept handled far more effectively in last year's Delivery, but it also feels a lot like Chronicle in parts, with cameras launched into the air by malevolent forces. But like most found-footage movies, it mostly resembles a bad PA cash-in.
Little attention is paid to making the compilation of footage seem realistic, with impossible multi-angle filming during some scenes and, as usual, the characters keep filming in the most unlikely scenarios. To its credit it does feature a character checking back his footage for clues, something we rarely see. The question of who assembled the footage we're seeing is, as usual, a baffling one, with police interview tapes intercut with footage gathered by both the protagonists and antagonists.
January has become the dumping ground for horror in recent years so expect another couple of high profile found-footage movies this time next year. Let's hope someone finds a way to reinvigorate the genre before then.
4/10


Eric Hillis

discussion by