(director: Brad Peyton; screenwriter: Ronnie Christensen; cinematographer: Dana Gonzales; editors: Jonathan Chibnall, Todd E. Miller; music: Andrew Lockington; cast: Aaron Eckhart (Dr. Ember), Carice van Houten (Lindsey), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Camilla), David Mazouz(Cameron), Tomas Arana (Felix), Keir O’Donnell (Oliver), Emily Jackson (Riley), Natalija Nogulich (Maggie, in the car), Matt Nable(Dan), John Pirruccello(Henry); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Jason Blum, Trevor Engelson, Michael Seitzman; High Top Releasing/BH Tilt; 2016)
“A low-rent horror film in need of an exorcist, as it never recovers from being cursed with a bad script.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A low-rent horror film in need of an exorcist, as it never recovers from being cursed with a bad script. Brad Peyton (“Rampage”/”San Andreas”) directs as if the story is on life-support. Ronnie Christensen writes the grim and uninspired screenplay by giving more import on putting a different twist on things than coming up with a lucid script. It’s a lot worse than the usual demonic possession film, even if it at least tries to be somewhat different.
Vatican official Camilla Marquez (Catalina Sandino Moreno) implores the secular Dr. Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart), who has big issues with the Church, to help in a difficult case that has stymied the priests who deal with demonic possession cases. Ember rails against the way the Church treats these cases as spiritual matters and explains he considers them entities (and not demons) that have invaded the mind causing a dream state and must be evicted from the mind. His expertise relates to his ability to enter the subject’s mind and evict the entities. Because of his success, Ember’s is targeted by the demonic world. In one case, they caused a car accident that killed his wife and left him paralyzed and wheelchair–bound. We are led to believe that Cameron (David Mazouz), the young boy whose plight Camilla has presented to Ember, is the same entity that cursed his life and made him suffer so much. For this reason he agrees to take the case and brings along his loyal team of Oliver (Keir O’Donnell) and Riley (Emily Jackson). But the so-called Maggie entity is not an easy one to get rid of.
The result is a hokey horror pic, one that’s violent, pointless and half-baked. The talented Eckhart is too talented to be in such dreck, but is the only reason to see it.
REVIEWED ON 9/3/2017 GRADE: C- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/