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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