Not since The Exorcist has there been such a genuinely shocking and intelligent film that blurs the lines of reality and horror. Movies such as The Conjuring or The Rite have come close, but still lacked that certain something. And when director Scott (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson was first announced to adapt the true story of New York police Sgt. Ralph Sarchie's encounter with real life demons, some critics were a bit skeptical. Then the first trailers began to hit both the internet and theaters worldwide. And though they certainly grabbed potential moviegoers' attention, they by no means showed all of the best scares, something that is quite commonplace for a movie like this one.
Stars Eric (Deadfall, Hanna) Bana and Edgar (Domino, Vantage Point) Ramirez play a cop and a priest in this movie that is a buddy/cop movie with a supernatural and very dark dramatic twist. And they each play their respective roles with absolute believability, never once falling into stereotype or caricature. The two lead actors did such a phenomenal job that even if the story was lacking or the direction cliched (which neither were), it would have been enough to carry the entire film. Additional star power comes in the form of Olivia (Attack of the Show, Iron Man 2) Munn as the beautiful wife, Sean (The Borgias, Prometheus) Harris as the uber-creepy villain, newcomer Olivia Horton as a victim of possession, and Joel (The Soup, Community) McHale as the wisecracking and surprisingly bad ass partner to Bana's leading man.
The film delivers plenty of scares throughout, but another great strength is its ability to not only begin but sustain an effective sense of unease from the very beginning until the spectacular end. Most movies like this offer only a few genuine scares (if any) and then fall flat in the second or even third act. But this is the work of a well-crafted thriller, with just the perfect amount of drama interjected to make you not only care for the characters involved, but actually want a resolution along with the happy ending. But like all true stories, there is always room for the unexpected. And also like all movies "based on actual events," those unexpected events are entirely and wholly up to the interpretation of the viewer. Bana and Ramirez shine in an excellent summer scare fest that is both smart and stylish. This is sure to be a sleeper hit and might be just the ticket to finally catapult these two actors from the B-list to the A-list.