With possession films, found footage films, and the combination of both all the rage these days, I try to avoid that combination as much as possible. Once in a while, I cave and watch a popular title, or slip and put a less familiar title in one of my streaming watchlists. This blog is a result of both instances.
THE DEVIL INSIDE (2012)
One of those mainstream possession/exorcism movies I was in no rush to see – aka: wait until it’s free on a streaming service – The Devil Inside was even worse than I expected.
It starts on October 30th, 1989, because the end of October makes everything scarier. Some woman calls 911 to let them know she’s killed a bunch of people. Cops show up at the house, we get to see all the bloody bodies in found footage POV, and there’s a really bad attempt at a jump scare done Paranormal Activity final frame style.
Years later, the woman’s now grown daughter is doing a documentary film about the possibility that her mom is possessed. She goes to a lot of seminars and meetings that tell us everything we already learned from The Exorcist 40 years ago. She connects with a priest that breaks the Catholic Church’s rules on exorcisms, because that’s what happened in The Exorcist.
She attends an exorcism that looks like it’s taking place in Jigsaw’s lair for some reason, where a possessed chick is tied to a bed. She snarls, growls, talks dirty, bleeds from her va-jay-jay, and gets in the spider crawl position, because that’s what happened in The Exorcist. Seriously younger generations. Just fucking watch The Exorcist.
The daughter attends an exorcism performed on her mother, the demon jumps bodies, and a possessed person roaming through a dark house while everyone else runs around screaming with flashlights, because that’s what happens in found footage films. Yeah, I’m done writing about this movie.
THE QUIET ONES (2014)
John Pogue, director of the deliciously entertaining Quarantine 2: Terminal, brings us this very different horror experience. While it takes place in 1974, which happens to put its time period within a year of the release of the film The Exorcist…eureka! It’s a fricking original take on the possessed girl genre.
More complex than your standard possession film, The Quiet Ones isn’t an exorcism through de-demonizing film, but an exorcism through debunking film. A college professor/psychiatrist is trying to prove that his possessed patient is actually creating paranormal chaos with her own mind. He invites one of his male students to film his work with her in an old house, and shit gets freaky, considering séances are a daily part of the professor’s experiments.
Only occurrences involving the possessed girl are shot “found footage” style, which is refreshing and makes them all that more effective and eerie. And because she doesn’t look and act all “demonized,” she becomes a character you sort of feel bad for. Of course, you’re also thinking, “This poor innocent girl is going to start doing really obscene things with her tongue any minute.”
But not the main kid. He fully believes she’s being abused, and tries to convince the professor’s two assistants that they need to help him get her out of there. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.
The Quiet Ones avoids the most annoyingly predictable clichés of both possession films and found footage films and delivers a unique story with a few twists and EEK! moments along the way. It also heavily features the rock classic “Cum On Feel The Noize,” but…surprise! It’s the original 1973 recording by Slade, not the Quiet Riot 1983 hit cover version. And here’s the video to prove it actually is a different guy singing…