Devil's Due - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
ROMAN Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby is given a contemporary makeover befitting the Paranormal Activity crowd in this derivative and mind-numbingly dumb genre entry.
Co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who made their name on one of the V/H/S horror anthology segments, and based on a script by Lindsay Devlin (which in itself was based on a dream she had), this adopts the found footage-style template in an attempt to give it a more edgy, realistic feel – but only succeeds in feeling as though it is borrowing from every genre staple without adding anything remotely new.
Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller) are a couple who video document everything in their lives. Hence, when introduced they’re about to get married and then head off for their honeymoon to the Dominican Republic, where – following an unsettling encounter with a palm reader – they have a weird party experience and then get back home to find Sam unexpectedly pregnant a couple of months later.
As the months tick by, so too does the feeling that all is not right with the pregnancy and that something supernatural could be at work.
Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett certainly have scope to offer something contemporary and genuinely unsettling, particularly as difficult pregnancies tap into just about every parents’ worst nightmare. But by opting to go for repetitive jump scares rather than anything psychological, they’ve overlooked everything that made Polanski’s classic so timeless.
Indeed, the co-directors run dangerously close to parody at several points, especially in the obvious use of creepy replacement doctors or priests undergoing mysterious ailments whenever they get close. At others, meanwhile, they’re just plain dumb – why, for instance, does a couple that insists on taping everything never once think to watch their recordings back?
There are also cheats employed to maintain the film’s ‘momentum’, such as having several scare moments unfold from the perspective of other video cameras, the aftermath of which never seems to come into play.
Some of this wouldn’t be so bad if you actually cared about the couple in question but it’s to the film’s complete detriment that – again – you quickly lose interest in their plight.
With so little going for it, you can’t help but feel that Devil’s Due should have been aborted long before it ever reached the screen.
Running time: 89mins
UK Release Date: January 17, 2014