Friday, May 30, 2014

Devil's Due Movie Review – Paranormal Activity Meets The Omen

Runtime: 89 minutes
Release Date: January 17, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

When Zach and Sam get married, Zach decides to film every moment with his video camera. After leaving on their honeymoon, he reveals that a friend gave him an "adventure cam," which lets him film their experiences while keeping his hands free. During their last night in town, they meet a cab driver who insists that they go to a club he knows. Sam isn't very comfortable there, especially when several men keep staring at her.

Cut to the following morning. The two wake up back in their hotel room with few memories of the night before and no clue how they got back to their room. Zach pushes Sam to hurry up before they miss the flight without once dropping the camera. Not long after they get home, Sam takes a pregnancy test and it's positive. Though they're excited about their honeymoon baby, they're also a little nervous.

That nervousness gets even worse as the pregnancy continues. Sam has bad nosebleeds, she keeps finding strange bruises, and in one especially strange moment, her stomach actually moves and pulsates from inside. When someone hides a series of cameras throughout their house and Sam begins acting out in mysterious ways, it becomes abundantly clear that this is far from a traditional pregnancy.

Devil's Due is what happens when Paranormal Activity meets The Omen with a dash of Rosemary's Baby thrown in for good measure. While it does have some interesting moments, it occasionally suffers from the directors trying to do too many things at once. Between showing us multiple characters, including Zach's sister and her kids, two doctors, a priest, and miscellaneous villains and good guys, it's a little hard to follow at times.

The found footage genre made it easy for anyone with a camera to create a horror film, and I've seen a lot of truly bad movies from the genre. Devil's Due, while it doesn't offer anything new, does provide a fairly strong story. If you avoided because of its 3.8 rating on IMDB, go ahead and watch it. It seems like if a horror movie isn't a "classic" or one that critics love, which is basically three movies from the last few years, it won't get a good review. I can't even remember the last time I saw a movie I liked with a rating of 6 or higher.

Anyway, on a night where I sat down and watched three horror movies in a row, Devil's Due came out the clear winner. One of the best scenes in the film involved Sam in the parking lot of a baby store. After nearly getting hit by a man backing up in his SUV, she completely freaks out, punches her fist through his back window, starts knocking out the other windows in his car, and then attacks the driver before Zach manages to pull her off. It's the perfect time to crack a joke about crazy pregnancy hormones!

I had two major problems with the movie. The first is that no one seems to think that Sam's behavior is odd or unusual. After the parking lot scene, Zach rushes her to the hospital, but the doctor basically ignores the problem. When she rushes out of the room during the ultrasound and starts vomiting, the doctors pretty much ignores her symptoms and even tells her husband that things are normal.

My other issue is that the film constantly tells us that Sam is an orphan. In one of the first scenes, her maid of honor gives speech at her wedding and mentions that they lived in the same foster home. It's such an important issue that Zach even mentions it to her doctor. It felt like that plot point was leading up to a moment that never came.

Devil's Due clearly isn't the best horror film or even found footage film of the year, but it's far more entertaining than some of the films I've sat through recently.