BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MAY 3, 2014
With the creativity and ingenuity found in their “V/H/S” anthology short film, “10/31/98,” about a group of guys who find themselves in a haunted house by mistake on Halloween, one would imagine that directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett could bring the same level of genius to their first feature film. Unfortunately, “Devil’s Due” proves to be yet another stale exploration in the found-footage sub-genre of horror films. Led by fresh faces Allison Miller and Zach Gilford, the pair plays newlyweds that return from their honeymoon and begin to experience paranormal events, only to find out Miller’s character is pregnant and likely with the devil. Following a new trend in horror films to build themselves around a few reoccurring set pieces, the entire film lacks the heightened suspense needed to achieve in its eventual scares. A devil fetus pushing out on its mother’s stomach is not scary. Piles of ash left in the house are not scary. What happened to the director pair that brought us practical effects in a haunted house, with hands coming out of the walls and an eerie cult in the attic trying to exorcise a young woman? Instead, we are given a retread of absolutely every found footage horror gimmick being used today. A saving grace for the film comes in the form of newcomer Allison Miller and her ability to make the on-screen relationship feel authentic by remaining the adorable young woman that rolls with the punches, whether those punches include being frightened by her own body or being found eating a dead deer. To give the directors some benefit of the doubt, a successful first feature can be a difficult achievement to accomplish. All we can hope for is that they either learn from their mistakes on their next feature or return to their short-form roots.
January 17, 2014
20th Century Fox
(for language and some bloody images)