TERRIFYING TRUE STORY OF DEMONIC POSSESSION IN “DELIVER US FROM EVIL”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Based upon the bestselling non-fiction book “Beware the Night” by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, the supernatural thriller “Deliver Us From Evil” brings together the dynamic talents of actors Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez, director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“The Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise).



In the film, Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Bana) of the NYPD has seen his share of darkness on the mean streets of the South Bronx. Assigned to the 46th Precinct in one of the toughest neighborhoods of the country, Sarchie has witnessed behavior on the outer edges of inhumanity, and it has begun to darken his soul, to the point of affecting his relationship with his wife, Jen (Olivia Munn), and their young daughter, Christina (Lulu Wilson).

But when the increasingly troubled Sarchie and his police partner Butler (Joel McHale), a sardonic ex-Army Ranger always ready for a fight, are summoned to investigate a bizarre incident, the events which follow will test the pragmatic Sarchie’s beliefs and understanding. He finds himself in a tenuous alliance with Joe Mendoza (Ramirez), a renegade priest whose own faith has been tested more than once, and who tries to convince a skeptical Sarchie that the increasingly horrifying occurrences are nothing less than an encounter with several cases of demonic possession.

Together, the policeman and the priest uncover layer after layer of evidence that what Mendoza describes as primary evil has taken root, and Sarchie is forced to question his entire belief system as they attempt to do battle with the malignant forces threatening the city, and even those he loves the most…his family.

Derrickson, who by nature is drawn to themes which are both spiritual and “supernatural”—and sees strong links between the two—was immediately drawn by the compelling tales which Sarchie described in his book. “In the book,” says Derrickson, “Ralph talks about his experiences as a cop in one of the most dangerous crime districts of New York, but also his gradual involvement in investigating cases of the paranormal, which eventually led him to become an assistant to an exorcist.”

“Jerry’s idea from the very beginning,” explains Derrickson, “was to blend the police and paranormal genres, which I thought was an extraordinary concept that people would want to see. Which I would want to see. The movie is not based on a true story in the full sense of the word, but rather inspired by paranormal cases in Ralph Sarchie’s book, strung together in a single narrative. The storyline that ties the different pieces together is fiction, but the scary sequences that you see in the movie are all based on real things which happened to Ralph.”

Although the film’s protagonist, Ralph Sarchie, is quite real, Derrickson invented the character’s counterpart, the unconventional priest, Joe Mendoza. Explains Derrickson, “Mendoza is an amalgam of two real people who were instrumental in Ralph Sarchie’s life in helping him recover his faith and take seriously what he was experiencing and investigating,” explains Derrickson, “and then ultimately train him to be an assistant in the rite of exorcism. One of them was a bishop who actually performed the majority of the exorcisms that Ralph was part of, and the other was a Catholic priest who wrote books on the subject. Rather than try to pick one of them, we blended the two into a single character, and then gave him his own fictional backstory.”

Derrickson, whose “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was highly regarded for its serious treatment of the phenomenon of demonic possession and exorcism, now found himself plunging even further into research for “Deliver Us From Evil.” “Monster movies are based on things that are not real phenomenon,” he observes. “Exorcisms are real. They happen often. And no matter what you think about them, they’re fascinating and they’re frightening. I’ve read a lot of documentation of cases and seen a lot of case videotapes, and they’re incredible disturbing and compelling. I think that there’s an inherent interest and fascinating in the connection that these kinds of films have to a real phenomenon in the world.

“I’m not really interested in trying to propagate people’s belief in the reality of demons or not,” concludes Derrickson, “but I do think that the phenomenon of exorcism is something that people need to take seriously. Religious faith is a subject that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, because it raises questions of morality, ethics, the afterlife, how we’re supposed to live, all the great questions.”

​Now showing across the Philippines, “Deliver Us From Evil” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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