'Devil's Due' Review: Rotten Devilled Eggs

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Devil’s Due Review: Rotten Devilled Eggs

By Agent Bedhead | Film Reviews | January 17, 2014 | Comments ()


A few weeks ago, I thought I had a ghost in my house. I didn’t go into detail with anyone about the experience because when you tell people about a ghost, they think you’re an attention-seeking idiot. It seemed like a nice ghost for the most part. Sort of a mischievous little critter. One night, “it” knocked down my shower curtain. On another evening, I heard the sound of a whisper and faint footsteps. All of this coincided with an emotional upheaval, so I figured my senses were probably heightened, and my mind was connecting mundane dots in a weird way. Needless to say, the ghost seems to have grown bored with my house because I haven’t heard anything in days. It did briefly occur to me to set up a camera, but quite frankly, I’m too lazy to pull that off. Plus, I didn’t really want to end up seeing something creepy. I see enough of that stuff at the movies, you know?

Let’s say you’re a motivated type and do go to the trouble of making a home movie to see what’s going on in your house. You’d probably would watch the footage to see what happened on film, right? Or say you’re on your honeymoon and record everything. Then some creepy shit happens after an outing at a seedy nightclub, yet you remember nothing. You’d view the footage that you undoubtedly recorded because you’re one of those a-holes who films everything, right?

Among other things, this natural urge (and the lack thereof) explains what is so frustrating about Devil’s Due. This is another one of those found-footage films that carried a certain charm for the first — I don’t know — dozen permutations or so. Now we’ve seen all the tricks, and the gimmick is wearing thin. This is an especially egregious example because one of the two main characters absolutely loves recording his entire existence. Yet he blithely records all sorts of supernatural stuff and never thinks to play back his footage until it’s wayyy too late. Of course. The film also tries so hard to not only replicate the Rosemary’s Baby model but also update it for the Facebook generation. As you might imagine, the final product does not succeed on that front.

Here’s the lowdown: Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) are in looove and have just wed. The first 20-30 minutes of this movie features absolutely nothing but this couple’s home videos of their wonderful romance. There’s the proposal, the marriage, the honeymoon in Santa Domingo. Naturally (because this is a movie about Satan knocking a woman up) they run into a fortune teller who reads Samantha’s palm and insists, “No family, no past, you were born for death” with an added promise that a dark entity has been waiting for her. Then some very disconcerting events occur during an outing at the aforementioned nightclub, but Samantha and Zach wake up with no memory. They sort of figure they drank too much darn liquor and promptly forget the incident.

Once the couple returns from the honeymoon, Allison quickly realizes she’s pregnant. This is some grade-A Breaking Dawn shit because the baby is growing super fast and beating the hell out of her from the inside out. Before you know it, Samantha’s prompting priests to have aneurisms and causing other women at Lamaze class to have contractions. She eschews vegetarianism in favor of chomping down on raw meat in the grocery store and killing random deer for snack fare. She walks around looking creepy and lurking all over the place. It’s all supposed to be very scary and build a sense of dread, but it doesn’t work. Mostly because the found footage is mixed in with cameras that clearly are not part of Zach’s home movie equipment stash. Plus the film contains some police station footage of a bloodied Zach trying to convince the police he didn’t do anything wrong. The ending is not a happy one and attempts to break ground for a sequel, which is not likely to happen.

Is the movie scary? Not in the slightest. I think it’s barely the type of movie that one could find scary if they’re in the mood to be easily scared. When it comes down to it, Devil’s Due is typical January dumping ground fare. With that said, the film at least looks good even if its characters are even stupider than most warm bodies in horror movies. Absurdity and cheap jump scares prevail. Found footage, be gone.

Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Oh, Saracen... I so wanted better things for you.

  • John G.

    One thing my day didn't need was that header pic.

  • No surprise. Not in the slightest.

    The other day I saw The Blair Witch Project was on some TV channel. Which reminded me of the special that ran on Sci-Fi Channel called "Curse of the Blair Witch". And I recall being scared by that far more than the actual movie. And I thought, why is that? What I realized is that the TV special actually spent time building the legend and the idea of a terrifying entity haunting the woods outside the town that everyone kind of forgot but kept bumping into every some 70 years or so.

    (Aside: it's available for $10. $10??! The hell? For a one-hour TV ad?)

    I think that's the problem with all these found-footage movies. None of the set-up, the build up occurs naturally. It's all "cute, boring white people living their lives who then *BOOM* run into the supernatural and run, run, wait, it's impossible to run and end".

  • grr arrgh

    Your description of found footage is so accurate. I only saw part of The Blair Witch Project but...it's boring. It's just so boring. They just walk around the woods and basically do nothing. I agree though, they didn't build up the legend enough.

    Has there even been a successful found footage movie besides [Rec]? That's the only one I can think of that I saw and actually enjoyed. Paranormal Activity was...adequate. The second one godawful. (Security camera footage of nothing...nothing..oh look, the magazine on the coffee table shifted slightly. Spoooky!!).

  • e jerry powell

    There was that horror movie with that porn guy. Cannibal Holocaust, I think it was. I was mostly watching it for the porn guy, though. People did some really horrific shit in that movie though, it wasn't all just running around scared, because they DID VIOLENT STUFF.

  • grr arrgh

    Yes, it was Cannibal Holocaust. I haven't seen it but I know that it's infamous for actually killing several animals on screen.

  • Depends on your definition of horror, but Chronicle was pretty good, even though it did strain to fit into the conceit.

    I think the problem with found footage films is that it smacks dead into the old adage "show, don't tell". While that is great advice, the problem comes in where people simply don't record every single important moment on camera in real life. So it is awkward to try and get certain information in the film that couldn't be from the protagonists' cameras. And when they try to add in footage from security cameras and the like, then the question becomes "how did they get this, and who exactly is making the film?" instead. If those questions are addressed in the film, then it tends to turn out better.

    At least, that's what I think.

  • grr arrgh

    Yeah, the "where are they getting this from?" issue is something that always bugged me. That and "Okay, in real life, these people would've dropped the camera/stopped filming looonnnggg ago." Or worse, they just shake the camera and you can't see anything, like in parts of the V/H/S/ and V/H/S/2 movies. I have a hard time suspending my disbelief when they film things no normal person would film. Or with the Paranormal Activity movies (well, the first two that I saw) they show you nearly nothing. The first movie did it fairly well. They showed enough that it did build some tension, but in the second one it was nothing. Just that damn pool cleaner moving around. Ooh, so scary! A floating pool cleaner I can't tell whether it's being controlled by an evil entity! (Yeah, I'm still kind of pissed at how utterly boring that movie was).

    Haven't seen Chronicle but I heard it was a mostly good flick. Main complaint about that I remember reading was that they basically quit with the found footage angle in the third act.

  • Well not so much "quit", since they did try to justify where the footage was coming from. But it was clear that they were straining to get diegetic cameras in place.

    I will say this about that part (and really the entire movie): they did do a good job with the sound editing to make it look like each camera could only pick up an appropriate portion of the sound and dialogue in the area. Like a camera phone mic would be noticeably different from a camcorder mic, and a traffic cam would only have the helicopter and pilot sounds.

  • grr arrgh

    Ah, okay. I'll have to netflix this some time.

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