Saturday, February 8, 2014

Devil's Due (2014)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha McCall (Allison Miller) are two newlyweds, and they’re on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. One night, Zach and Samantha take a wrong turn during the trip back to the hotel room, and they’re lost in the streets until a cab driver shows up. Zach and Samantha want to go to the hotel room, but the cab driver takes a detour to an underground club. At first, Samantha refuses, but Zach convinces Samantha to go to the club, because Zach wants a memorable send-off for the honeymoon. At the club, Samantha and Zach pass out after too many drinks. In the morning, Zach and Samantha awake in their hotel room with  no memory of what happened after the night at the club, but Samantha remembers an awkward encounter and the foreboding warning from a fortune teller.

Back in the US, Samantha and Zach prepare to start their lives together as a happily married couple, but Samantha’s unexpected pregnancy changes everything. Samantha is unnerved by the pregnancy, because she regularly uses birth control pills as a deterrent. Eventually, Samantha accepts the arrival of her first child. Zach is excited about building a nursery, and his new role as a father, and together, Zach and Samantha announce Samantha’s pregnancy to a group of family and friends.

During the countdown to Samantha’s delivery date, the pregnancy takes series of bizarre turns. Samantha’s erratic behavior raises some serious questions, and Samantha can’t fight cravings for raw meat. Zach notices Samantha’s odd changes, random strangers watching the house, and Zach suspects something fishy in the old abandoned house down the street.

Samantha’s due date is weeks away, and Samantha secretly carves a large symbol into the floor of the nursery. Zach tries to solve the mystery of Samantha’s descent into madness, and his investigation leads him to one troubling question: Is Samantha carrying the spawn of Satan?

Allison Miller delivers the best performance, but it‘s a default choice. Miller deserves credit for some believable temper tantrums, and creepy stares. There’s a scene, where Zach is recording Samantha while she’s sleeping. Samantha suddenly wakes up out of nowhere, and she squeezes Zach’s arm with this emotionless look on her face, but I have to give an assist to the CGI for Samantha’s eyes. The rest of the cast ranges from tolerable to mediocre, and Gilford is annoying at times.

Remember the cab driver from the Dominican Republic? Well, he’s apart of a secret satanic cult. He lured Zach and Samantha to the club, and when they passed out from too much alcohol, more cult members prepared Samantha for a ritual in a secret chamber.

And the cult members are using the old abandoned house down the street as a hideout to monitor Samantha’s every move with hidden cameras. Zach uses a hidden camera and microphone to expose the cult, but he left Samantha alone with his sister during the mission.

A possessed Samantha murders Zach’s sister. Zach tries to save Samantha, but Samantha uses her powers to stop him. An incapacitated Zach is helpless to save Samantha. Samantha uses a magical tool to cut open her stomach. Samantha dies from the wound, but the doctor from the cult returns to retrieve the glowing baby with some help from the cab driver.

After the massacre, Zach is sitting in a police station, and he’s trying to point fingers at the cult, because he’s the prime suspect for Samantha’s murder and his sister’s murder. The police aren’t buying his story, because they can’t find any traces of the cult at the abandoned house. And Samantha‘s new doctor can‘t verify Zach‘s story, because he mysteriously disappeared. Long story short, Samantha’s original doctor vanished out of nowhere, and a new doctor took over. They don’t come out and say it, but you have to assume the new doctor is working for the cult.

To end the movie, the story shifts to another newlywed couple on their honeymoon. They’re in Paris, and they’re lost until the Dominican cab driver shows up. He talks with a French accent this time around, and the couple wants to go to their hotel room (any of this sound familiar?). But the cab driver promises a wild night of fun, so the couple agrees to a detour for another club.

A strong finale for Devil’s Due. You knew there was a good chance Samantha wouldn’t make it to the end, but the hellacious carnage during the finale is amazing. Splatters of blood throughout the nursery, the gruesome sight of Samantha cutting herself, and the death of Zach’s sister. To give you a visual for the death of Zach’s sister, she walks into the nursery, and she’s trying to stop Samantha. Samantha is putting the finishing touches on the carving for the satanic symbol, and Zach’s sister tries to snatch the carving tool out of her hand. Big mistake. Samantha uses her powers to push Zach’s sister through the door, and you can see the door crash into the wall from the POV of a hidden camera.

The stupidity in Devil’s Due? Oy vey. Why, WHY would you trust a random cab driver? On top of that, this guy takes you to an underground club in a bad neighborhood, and you STILL ignore the warning signs? Seriously? And speaking of warning sings, Zach ignores Samantha’s weird pupils, and her violent mood swings (i.e. the scene in the trailers, where Samantha smashes the car windows with her bare hands)?

On top of that, Zach waits until it’s too late to do something about Samantha. Yeah, you have a bunch of creepy strangers watching your house 24/7, and you wait until the end to call the police? To make matters worse, you leave your sister alone with a psychotic Samantha? Unbelievable.

Devil’s Due is loaded with problems, with stupidity from the main characters as the number one problem. Still, Devil’s Due is a passable found-footage horror film, if you’re trying to kill some time. The pulse-pounding finale is full of blood, carnage, and it’s fun to watch the chaos unfold step by step. You’ll see a few good jump scares here, and the nasty stuff never reaches the overkill point. The restrained approach works, because the cringeworthy stuff (the priest’s bloody nose, Samantha’s unnatural bulges from the baby’s kicks, etc.) is capable of pulling a reaction out of you every now and then, and that‘s enough.

Plus, there’s a freaky scene, where Samantha uses her demonic powers to eliminate a group of teens in the woods during a feeding (live animals) frenzy. The obligatory home movies phase is frustrating and boring, and Devil’s Due stumbles out of the gate, but the pace picks up, as Samantha succumbs to her newfound evil powers.

Oh, and it’s almost impossible to ignore the similarities to Rosemary’s Baby here. In fact, Devil’s Due feels like a quasi remake for Rosemary’s Baby with a found-footage POV. Avoiding a remake or a “loose remake” approach and tagline is a smart move, because Rosemary’s Baby is worshiped as a great horror classic, and hardcore horror fans would trash this film with venomous hatred. I know. Devil’s Due flopped, and the vast majority of critics slammed Devil’s Due with negative reviews. Still, you can say Devil’s Due had a chance to stand on its own. As a full-blown remake, Devil’s Due can’t escape the enormous shadow from Rosemary’s Baby. Not a chance.

Rating: 5/10

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