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What’s it About?

After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple finds themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy.

Devil’s Due

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-OlpinTyler Gillett

3 out of 10

By Vic

Aside from Richard Donner’s “The Omen” you know you may be in for an iffy horror flick when the film-makers insist on putting up on screen anti-christ quotes from The Bible. That’s how we start this flick off with: a derivative whimper not a bang. “Devils’ Due” is the latest found footage horror thriller from 2 film-makers who participated in the V/H/S films. (2 movies that I have YET to watch. I know, what kind of horror fan am I? don’t judge me too harshly). The film is written by Lindsay Devlin, who wrote “In So Many Words,” a Doc from 2013.

The film begins with actor Zach Gilford (The Last Stand) being held for questioning, while covered in blood and bruised, in a local police station for what appears to be a violent crime regarding his wife, Samantha (Allison Miller of Terra Nova). Right after his questioning, the movie starts off with the preparation of the happy couple’s upcoming wedding nuptials exploring  all the familiar territory found in these movies.  The affable and goofy Zach, wanting to record everything for posterity, sets up early in the picture that he is indeed in love with Sam and that they are the happiest almost newlyweds on the face of the earth.

After the obligatory wobbly pov shots of family members talking, people getting dressed, pre-marital gobbledy gook etc etc, the couple eventually get hitched and make their way to the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) for their honeymoon, where they get targeted (and Sam is given a freaky palm read) by the friendliest cabbie ever and his coven of voo doo satanist crazies. He leads them to an out of the way rave in a cave where Sam and Zach (with cam always rolling. Go Pro anyone?) are given some strong elixirs that are not really shots of liquor and then all hell breaks loose. Ugh. Yeah, I just said that.

Sam and Zach are knocked out and in some really trite and uninteresting bits of off angle banality, some fiery creature or demon or maybe Old Nick pops up to knock up Sam with his hell sperm. The hungover couple, not knowing how they got back to the hotel room (and with Zach STILL recording), rush to make their flight back home. Suffice it to say, it probably wasn’t the honeymoon of all honeymoons.

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So, Sam finds out that she is pregnant despite taking measures. Zach is happy (and still recording) but Sam seems less than excited. They tell the fam. The fam is happy. They start baby shopping. Sam gets a sonogram. They get a pic of the baby. Zach starts to build a crib. Sam starts to get violent and pissed off all the time. Oh and yeah, she starts eating raw meat in the supermarket like some off the wall and trendy Barbara Eden. So, all of this happens and of course everything is taped.

We also get different vantages from surveillance cameras as well. I especially like when Sam almost gets hit by an SUV in the parking lot and turns into the incredible hulk and starts smashing windows like some steroid addled monster pregnant with the baby from Dante’s Inferno.

Soon after and unfortunately, “Devil’s Due” become a really snoozy, contrived and un-compelling example of how to not knock off “Rosemary’s Baby.” That being said, it doesn’t help that it adds absolutely nothing inventive, original or remotely satisfying to the subgenre. I shouldn’t be surprised, though, should I? I mean, every dude and his lazy cousin with a Canon EOS or a semi prosumer cam is shooting a FF horror these days. But when 20th Century Fox pushes an 89 minute film with a 7 mil budget of this type on us, I expect something a bit more than average and this movie fails miserably in that capacity.

Too bad because this movie could have had some fun with the material since the two leads definitely can sustain some realistic dexterity with the material. A shame that the approach they took with this devil baby story teeters on absurd mimicry.

The 2 young directors, though, do not skimp on the weird and creepy. There are enough very strange and demonic disturbances in “Devil’s Due” to fill 2 movies but they are served up with little to no enthusiasm or cleverness. Objects and pictures fly around the house, there are loud bangs and rumbling, mysterious visits to the doctor and Sam makes it a habit of flinging teens around in the woods while experimenting eating dead wild venison. Also, my favorite: Little devil baby’s funky antics in the womb. As thing progress, we are not really given any story, suspense, creativity or inventiveness. It all just is. 

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By the end, we just do not care about what’s going on even though Zach is like-able and tries to hold this mess both onscreen and off, together. If you blink you may miss whatever happens ultimately to Zach at the police station. “Devil’s Due” fall under the weight of trying to cover just about everything that happens from every angle and it disappoints. The plot uses the continued conceit of this device to try and convince us that all of what transpires really counts. What counts if that I want to be creeped out and entertained and not reminded of the various inspirations from better films constantly.

So, “Devil’s Due” is a loud and distracted affair. It hits numerous obstacles and never really keeps it head above water. By the end when the mysterious coven from DR makes their way to Zach and Sam, we have already wrapped the movie up in our minds and are ready to move on. There is so much of “been there, done that” in “Devil’s Due.”

Trope after trope is on display here and after all of the misguided antics and errors we just cannot really relate to anything going on because we do not care to just watch gimmick after gimmick in this over-bloated and now underwhelming sub-genre. After the very decent “Afflicted,” “Devil’s Due” comes up very short and generic. Unfortunately, what ever novelty the film had early on just peters out the more the movie piggy backs other films of this type.

Maybe another shot at a demon baby movie without the dizzying and annoying shaky cam…no, wait. You can’t make one of these without all of that, right? Proceed with very careful caution, gang. Only for purists and completists of this genre.

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