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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 24 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 04
Familiar Devils Due carries tensions to term
Arts & Entertainment
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Familiar Devils Due carries tensions to term

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

DEVILS DUE
Now playing


Something happened during Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach Millers (Zach Gilford) honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. Shes returned pregnant, and while the two are overjoyed at the news, theres a lost night the last evening they were there that neither can recall and thats worrisome enough to mute their collective joy.

Turns out thats for good reason.

The pregnancy isnt going entirely as it is supposed to. Samanthas mood swings are oftentimes violently out of control, while strange happening both inside their house and throughout their immediate neighborhood have Zach noticeably on edge. Theres some sort of conspiracy tracking their every move, its obsession with the baby criminal in nature, maybe more than that, potentially even Satanic.

So, basically, Devils Due is the Rosemarys Baby of the found footage horror genre, but instead of the husband being in on the demonic cabal trying to use his wife as a vessel for Satans spawn, hes the intrepid investigator attempting to put the pieces together before its too late. Otherwise, though, Lindsay Devlins script follows the template set forth in Roman Polanskis 1968 classic and Ira Levins best-seller almost to the letter meaning there arent a ton of surprises to be found as far as the central mysteries themselves are concerned.

Be that as it may, the movie isnt half bad.

Devlins scenario emphasizes character-building over scares, making Zach and Samantha more three dimensional than normal - a somewhat impressive feat considering the limitations that power this genre. More, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S) do a nice job of shaking things up a little, going The Bay and End of Watch route using whatever sort of cameras are available at any given moment in order to tell their tale. Together, the trio isnt afraid to slow things down and to take their time, letting events develop slowly and with precision, making the shocks somewhat more effective in the process.

The problem with these Paranormal Activity-style supernatural riffs is that they are starting to follow a discernable pattern and as such the shocks and moments of terror are becoming harder to come by as these sorts of films continue to increase in number. In this case, at a certain point, the inherent silliness of it all overpowers the moderate scares that are indeed found, the last third an increasingly frenetic but decreasingly interesting affair that sadly wears out its welcome with frustrating speed.

Still, I cant say I minded watching Devils Due.

It has some unsettling moments, not the least of which is a sequence featuring three teens out having a good time, stumbling upon a scene of wildlife carnage they shouldnt have, and the performances from both Miller and Gilford are pretty good, all things considered. I like that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett arent afraid to slow things down, to put character first and everything else second, allowing the viewer to connect emotionally to what is going on. The movie doesnt deliver, not at the end at least; but it does carry its tension to term, so that its almost good enough to make seeing this baby born moderately worthwhile.

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Familiar Devils Due carries tensions to term
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