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Monday, May 5, 2014

Devil's Due (Blu-ray) - The Remake of the 70's Antichrist Found Footage Reel

I haven't read a review that loves Devil's Due. It was a hyped up mess when it released, and we almost did a Dead Air podcast about it save for the fact that we got really busy and it was determined to be expendable. This was my first time getting the chance to watch it. I was ready to buck popular opinion if in fact it was a good flick in the found footage shooting style (it was getting some negative fan reviews based on this alone). That's a big IF. I mean it's possible that Radio Silence (the fellas behind one of my favorite stories in the anthology movie V/H/S) were simply being misunderstood. It IS possible right? That I could see a second, awesome Radio Silence flick and that everyone else was wrong. Unfortunately this time around the nays have it. Devil's Due was not a very strong horror picture. It came off more like expired 2% milk, just past its due date.

Synopsis from Fox:

After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple finds themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy. While recording everything for posterity, the husband begins to notice odd behavior in his wife that they initially write off to nerves, but, as the months pass, it becomes evident that the dark changes to her body and mind have a much more sinister origin.

I can imagine the storyboarding and writing that went into Devil's Due. It must have read something like, let's take all the familiar tropes from Antichrist related horror pictures from the 70's. Rosemary's Baby. The Omen. Things of that quality and vision. Let's take what works and shoot it our way in one great big hodgepodge. Let's see if a 21st century Son of Satan can make it to the big screen and maybe win, at the box office and in the movie. Scenes of a prego woman eating meat in a grocery store come off funny, not shocking and pale in comparison to the original images that inspired them (in this instance Rosemary Woodhouse eating raw meat in Rosemary's Baby). You can't take powerful performances by Mia Farrow and emulate them especially not when scene through the eye of a grocery store camera (though I like using multiple camera angles).

Folks complain about the shooting style. Why are there multiple camera angles, cameras everywhere and why do they use a grocery store camera at one point? That actually seemed quite ingenius to me. It's part of the creativity that led me to enjoy Radio Silence's segment in V/H/S. All will be explained, but I'm afraid the problem is with fancy editing or camera work, it's with the explanation of itself. It comes off like a poor man's Omen that demands a David Warner but doesn't find him. There's no one as strong as Gregory Peck to carry moments that feel more like a reel of remade scenes from horror movies of yesterday. If you saw the trailer on the commercials prior to it's theatrical release, you have seen all the good moments in the picture that might be worth watching. Quite a few trailers do that these days, but at least there's a story to wrap the worth-watching effects sequences together. Devil's Due is way too concerned with the shock factor of the 1970's and provides exactly one potential shock... and you see that in the trailer. In context the devil-in-the-tummy shot is a blip and can almost go unnoticed.

If you want to watch an Antichrist picture, stick to the classics or even some of the more obscure hackneyed pics of the 70's where you can garner a view laughs from poor filmmaking. If you want to watcha pregnancy horror movie, they exist in abundance, and we'd be happy to recommend quite a few (Inside, It's Alive, Xtro... at least in part). You'll get more gratuity for your buck, a better story and hopefully a real shock or at least thought provoking story. I'm still amazed the studio didn't go for the PG-13 with how little there was on screen to cause an R rating.

The Blu-ray disc comes with audio commentary, deleted scenes, a featurette on Radio Silence, a photo album and a prank reel. It's a new movie on Blu-ray so despite not being a movie that is filled with quality content, it looks and sounds fine.

If you did enjoy Devil's Due I'd love to hear your perspective. Post some comments below. You can pick up the release now.

Radio Silence, I know you guys can do better that this.

-Doc Terror

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