Review: Devil’s Due

devils due

Zach and Sam, a happy pair of one-dimensional newly-weds, embark on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic where they inadvertently get totally hammered, end up kidnapped and subjected to a strange underground ritual by some dodgy looking goths. The following day they return home, remembering nothing of their bizarre encounter to find that, shock-horror, Sam is now preggers. What’s more, the gestating foetus turns out to be a little more than they bargained for and much chaos ensues.

If the set up sounds familiar, that’s probably because it is. Devil’s Due shares so much DNA with Rosemary’s Baby that it may as well be a remake. But where Polanski’s film was a chilling masterpiece and an exercise in claustrophobia and insidious mind games, what we have here is more of an impotent Xerox; same plot but fewer scares and little of the atmosphere.

Sure there’s the added bells and whistles of the faux found footage set-up that is handled fairly capably by fresh directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, but it’s not sufficient to raise the film in any major way. The found footage genre has been literally done to death so much that it’s hard to find any real meat on its bones that hasn’t been picked off by the likes of The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. As such, all they can muster here is a lame hop and a skip through the clichéd tropes of the horror film cheat sheet.

It’s the cinematic equivalent of cheap Ikea furniture; sure it does a half-decent job of standing up on its own and it looks fairly shiny, but you can’t escape the nagging feeling that there’s millions of others out there that all look just the same.

The script too is work-man-like and clunky, sapping any real dread with leaden dialogue and hampered immeasurably by a totally nonsensical decision to give the game away so early in the film that come the half-baked conclusion you’ll be wondering why they even bothered at all.

Not to knock it entirely though, the two main stars try their best and give reasonable performances with their woefully underwritten characters, particularly Allison Miller as the put upon devil mama who gets the lion’s share of the decent scares. Some of the set pieces, too, are fairly entertaining and freaky, even if you know you’ve seen them all done before.

Summarising this film in short, it is ultimately a disappointing experience that is as hackneyed as it is flavourless.