The Devil Inside (2012) directed by William Brent Bell is a horror/ documentary style film set mainly in Rome Italy in 2009 about Isabelle Rossi’s quest to find answers concerning her mother Maria Rossi, who was sent to an asylum in Italy after she murdered 3 people in the middle of them trying to perform an exorcism on her. Staring Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama and Suzan Crowley as the main cast.
Fernanda Andrade plays Isabelle Rossi the grief stricken and confused daughter of Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) the woman who murdered 3 people during her exorcism. After a not guilty verdict was announced due to insanity, Maria was shipped off to Italy where they are best suited to deal with her “type.” Years after the horrific murders, Isabelle not only wants answers for herself, she wants the whole world to know what has happened to her mother and find out more about the world of exorcism. She then arms herself with documentary filmmaker Michael Schaefer (Ionut Grama) to film everything they can. While there she finds both sceptics of demonic possessions and passionate believers such as Father Ben Rawlings ( Simon Quarterman) and Father David Feane (Evan Helmuth) in helping those who are possessed, but are bound by Vatican Law that has limited the amount of exorcisms done. As both Priests but their fellowship on the line, Isabelle and Michael get closer into this kind of world but are always safely on the sidelines, however when they agree to be present at an exorcism, all that changes.
In sticking with “found footage” vision, director William Brent Bell gives the film more authenticity that suited this type of film, to the extent that it would be hard to see any other style being nearly as successful in portraying shocking, memory pasting images (e.g. Watch when Isabelle and Michael are present at their first exorcism). In an interview by Tommy Cook found on www.collider.com the director states like many of us he 1st saw this kind of style in the Blair Witch Project(1999) and later done is Cloverfield(2008) , but had never been used in an exorcism film before and he thought it would be interesting to use. Besides the images looking real (especially due to the new age authentic feel done in horrors, where amateur cameras are used to capture the image and special effects make them do something wild but believable because it was shown on amateur footage) there were other powerful moments caught on film, such as the interviews involving the priests about their thoughts on helping the people and families dealing with possessions, Isabelle’s thoughts on her mother and Michael expressing his views as a “behind the camera” participant. Finally William Brent Bell’s Horror or Michael’s Documentary gives audiences the chance to be participants, willingly or unwillingly, in order to get as deep as the characters themselves can get even if uncomfortable at times (e.g. Watch Isabelle share information to priests about her mother).
The score or lack thereof in this film is used to good effect in creating the appropriate atmosphere for the characters as they search for answers while it also does a good job of not giving away too much in order to scare us half to death at times (e.g. I can’t give away too much you have to see for yourself).
Just like The Blair Witch Project (1999), Cloverfield (2008) and the Paranormal Activity films, there are elements of realism as filmmakers look to add another kind of flavorous spin into the Horror genre. Having said that The Devil Inside is considerably different; since in both The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield films the characters run around with the cameras making audiences as frantic as they are and in the Paranormal Activity films, the camera virtually stays in the same place creating more of a “surveillance” footage effect, The Devil Inside may use these methods as well but also use interviews to hit home the “real” feel of the film, similarly to that of District 9 (2009). This element was especially key since some of the interviews apart from the actors already mentioned, were done with non actors who are real life professionals in that respective field adding to the credibility of the subject. The director in the same interview on www.collider.com said he wanted a mixture of fact and fiction to make people think that what they are watching is actually real; I thought he did a good job of it, some either didn’t feel the same way or really didn’t care. I recommend you do watch it, to see if you care or not. In closing if you are interested in the existence of spirits, demonic possessions and that sort of thing, it’s worth looking at and talking about, if not…by the way what’s that behind you?