The Movie Waffler New Release Review - DELIVER US | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - DELIVER US

Deliver Us review
A priest flees with a nun pregnant with twins believed to be the messiah and antichrist.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Lee Roy Kunz, Cru Ennis

Starring: Lee Roy Kunz, Maria Vera Ratti, Thomas Kretschmann, Alexander Siddig, Jaune Kimmel

Deliver Us poster

I've always felt that if Hollywood decided to take another stab at remaking The Omen (at time of writing, a prequel is on the way), the best approach might be to centre the story on the Lee Remick character rather than Gregory Peck. In the original, Remick is killed off before she knows the truth about her son, so we never get to see how she might have reacted to the revelation that her little boy is the Antichrist. We can buy gruff old Gregory Peck manning up and offing his kid, but would a young mother be equally willing to do the same? Or might she attempt to keep young Damien safe from those who know his true nature, i.e. the Catholic church?

Perhaps Lee Roy Kunz has similar feelings, as Deliver Us - which he stars in, co-directs with Cru Ennis and co-writes with Kane Kunz – has a similar setup. Here the Antichrist hasn't yet been born though. He's in the belly of a pregnant nun, along with his twin brother, who happens to be the Messiah.

Deliver Us review

It's the sort of premise that would have played gangbusters if it had been brought to term by some mad Italian filmmaker in the 1970s. But we live in the era of "elevated" horror, so what we get is a stodgy, dimly lit snoozefest with an overly-complicated narrative that keeps the viewer asking questions when they should be immersed in the terror.

Kunz plays Father Fox (a name which sounds more befitting a puppet in a Catholic kids' cartoon), a Russian based American priest who wants to leave the church because he's fallen in love and impregnated an Estonian woman, Laura (Jaune Kimmel). The church insists that he do one last job before he quit, and so he's sent to a convent outside St. Petersburg where a young nun, Sister Yulia (Maria Vera Ratti), is pregnant with the aforementioned twins, the result of an apparent immaculate conception.

Deliver Us review

Joined by Cardinal Russo (Alexander Siddig), Fox doesn't believe Yulia's claims about the twins in her tummy but he comes to suspect she's in grave danger. When a one-eyed Thomas Kretschmann shows up as Father Saul, who is on a mission to abort the twins, Fox, Yulia and Russo flee to Estonia, where they hide out in the remote home of Laura's late grandfather.

It's from here that things start to get messy as it turns out that Laura's granddad was a prophet whose attic is filled with paintings predicting the very events Fox and friends are currently experiencing. We're told the world is experiencing apocalyptic events, but the film doesn't have the budget to visualise any of this so we just have to take its word on that matter.

Deliver Us review

There are a few too many shocking moments that are revealed as nightmares, which considerably lessens the stakes. By the final act, when the shit really does hit the fan, the movie has cried wolf too many times for us to heed its screams. There's a lot of schlock here, but it's rarely fun. In lieu of any sort of brooding atmosphere we get a monotonous score and a colour scheme that's so washed out you wonder why the filmmakers didn't just opt for black and white.

The performances are equally monotone, save for Ratti, who adds an ethereal quality to her portrayal of Sister Yulia and keeps us guessing as to which side of the good/evil dynamic she's really on. As the mother of a tot who may well destroy the world, Yulia is by far the most interesting character here, but Kunz makes the mistake of centring his movie on the played out figure of the priest in crisis. The film wraps up at a point that hints at a more interesting narrative in a possible sequel, but I'd struggle to sit through any more of this theological tedium.

Deliver Us is on UK/ROI VOD from February 19th.

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