Devil's Due: Film review - shock tactics are combined with subtlety and humour

(15) Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, 89 mins Starring: Allison Miller, Zach Gilford

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The Independent Culture

The antichrist is back in Devil's Due, a self-reflexive horror film that is clever and entertaining without ever being especially frightening. The film-makers come from the low-budget world (they co-directed a segment of the anthology shocker V/H/S), but here they have the might of a Hollywood studio behind them. They scavenge ideas shamelessly from such films as The Blair Witch Project, Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, but pay enough attention to character and plot to get away with it.

Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller) are a newlywed couple who go on honeymoon to Santo Domingo. They film each other every step of the way. (One of the conceits of Devil's Due is that it is almost entirely comprised of found footage shot on home-video cameras, surveillance cameras and cellphones.)

Samantha has a very creepy encounter with a palm reader. On their last night, the couple are whisked away by a sinister taxi driver to an underground party. No sooner do they return home to US suburbia than Samantha discovers she is pregnant.

The film-makers combine the usual shock tactics – priests collapsing, pregnant women devouring raw meat, satanic rituals – with at least some subtlety and humour. This is a drama about a young couple adjusting to marriage as much as it is a Grand Guignol horror picture. It is very derivative – but it has been made with diabolical amounts of energy.