Pregnant women are unpredictable. This is a polite and diplomatic way of saying ‘crazy’. They are so crazy, in fact, that if your pregnant best friend told you she was carrying the spawn of satan, you’d probably just nod and pat, nod and pat. Something you would be right to do. Having a baby does funny things to a girl. Outlandish claims and strange feelings are not unique.
And Devil’s Due uses this helter-skelter, rollercoaster period in a young woman’s life here to allow the time required to gestate a horror story into being, as well as the pitter-patter of tiny feet (hooves).
The kinder reviewers have called Devil’s Due ‘disappointing’, when we can only assume what they wanted to say was much harsher. The advice from my peers was to ‘go in with low expectations’ when asking around for opinion on the movie, and with that in mind, I have to admit I was strangely taken by something I initially thought I was literally going to have rip to bits.
Alot of the criticism in most quarters is a personal one for the individual involved, and that is the shaky-cam usage. This is inferred as such because the film doesn’t employ a found footage narrative, but still uses a handheld perspective featuring cameras as props in the narrative to tell the story. Hence alot of the scenes are (also) of a first person perspective. If that kind of thing winds you up anyway, then you’re really not going to have much fun here, as this approach is used almost exclusively. This is no longer a surprise and should not come as one to anyone who watches particularly horror films by now, given how familiar and formulaic it has become.
And as such, the method used should no longer be lumped into a ‘genre’ and compared to other first person/found footage projects, but should now be compared to any standard horror film, regardless of its POV (point of view). Hence, disliking a film for its choice of shot is not a reason to lambast a film on its own. So I won’t, and neither should you. By all means, perspective can be one of many failings by a film to entertain, but reviewing a film purely on this as matter of personal taste is short-sighted and irresponsible (#justsaying)
There are some strong performances from our leads, played by Allison Miller and Zack Gilford and anybody that tells you any different probably hasn’t watched it. The preamble to the meat of the story, a home video collective, created by the husband to record the life together of this happy couple is very authentic and believable, adorned with a script that is well thought out and apt for the tale.
Of course, when things start to get properly bonkers, the perceived realism is forced to take a backseat and alot of the decent acting and believable dialogue obviously goes with it. The denoument is a little less than satisfactory and I would liked to have learnt a bit more about what exactly the hell was going on, but I’m guessing this was a deliberate ploy to make the audience feel as helpless as our unfortunate couple.
In short, nowhere near as bad as you may have heard or read. It’s not particularly original and far from unique, but this does have about the same amount going for it as it has against it, which means it sits somewhere in the middle for most sane and rational thinking cinemagoers. Not as jump-scare as it might have been and perhaps lacking an overbearing malevolence and oppression throughout, its still worth watching if you’re a fan of the horror genre in general, assuming you can overlook the potentially tiresome format for some, but don’t expect it to rock your scary world for long or too often.
A pleasant surprise, all told. I kept my expectations low, as advised, and was suitably rewarded for my initial scepticism, with a better project than I had anticipated.