Spoilers follow ...
- The Devil Within review by NP
One of the things I like about the found footage genre is evidenced at the beginning of ‘The Devil Within’, when the camera remains locked onto a character as he conveys all kinds of emotion to the viewer without the help of moody lightning, artistic cutting or indeed anything to enhance the performance. The actor therefore has no choice but to play everything completely naturally because the unforgiving nature of an unedited shot would betray any lapse.
That’s the first impression I got from the opening moments as Professor Popescu (Adrian Carlugeo) warns us how terrible are the events we are about to see. He is wrong, unfortunately, for what follows is three actors with very little chemistry traipsing around the tremendous snowy Hoia Bacui Forest in a shockingly dull, blatant recreation of events in ‘The Blair Witch Project (1999)’ – inferior in every way, sadly. They get lost, argue and nothing happens. The discovery of the dead body of their erstwhile companion, the ferociously bearded Mr Dogaru (Bill Hutchins) fails to invest any scares into these uneventful wanderings: ‘What happened to him?’ ‘He’s f****** dead, that’s what happened to him,’ – all lines delivered with all the conviction of characters not remotely bothered.
Rumour has it that for ‘Blair Witch’, the director left his cast alone for most of the time in the unforgiving location, only to creep up on them at night and scare them – this produced a very real, wearied, raw set of performances. Here, the terrain is even less hospitable, but there are no scares, no tension whatsoever – any energy is drained from the young cast producing beleaguered dramatics in a disappointingly uneventful picture.
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