Possession flicks are really hard to pull off effectively because of the shadow of the giant 400-pound gorilla in the room known as The Exorcist. If you go too far, you're ripping it off. If you don't go far enough, your flick is labeled boring. It truly is a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of problem for a filmmaker to have to face. Thankfully, director William Brent Bell walks the fine line between inspiration and imitation with nary a misstep. The Devil Inside is an effective thriller that's guaranteed to send some solid chills down the spines of audiences. It's only real shortcomings come from the cinéma vérité shooting style it utilizes. Though not in abundance, the usual pitfalls of the technique are present and accounted for along with a couple of horror movie clichés that serve to temporarily snap you briefly out of the otherwise immersive experience. Yes, sometimes our characters will make questionable choices that will lead to all sorts of bad things, but once you see how well said things are executed, you can for the most part forgive them.
For all those out there whose main complaints about cinéma vérité style films is that the camera is too shaky and you really never see anything, do not worry. The camera work never gets too out of hand, and when the shocks and scares do come, they hit like a punch to the jaw.
The film is loaded with nightmarish moments that will have people both shrieking and averting their eyes. A special mention has to go out to Bonnie Morgan, who plays the character of Rosa, and of course Suzan Crowley, who, much like Lorna Raver did in Drag Me to Hell, completely steals the show. These ladies go above and beyond the call of spooky with their performances, and there's no way this flick would have been as effective without them.
While not perfect, this tale of possession hits way more than it misses and follows perfectly in the footsteps of the Paranormal Activity franchise, proving that more can be done with passion and imagination than with an inflated budget. The Devil Inside is home to moments that will shock, scare, disturb, and leave you gasping. It's a trip to the dark side that's well worth taking. No matter what you believe in ... say your prayers.