Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Like “Friday the 13th” and “Critters” before it, “Devil’s Due” attempts to capitalize on a previously released movie’s success — “Paranormal Activity.” Unlike the latter, this 89-minute “found footage” atrocity adds nothing original, innovative or entertaining to the genre.
The film follows newlyweds Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller) who, after returning from their honeymoon, discover they are going to have a baby. The couple is initially overjoyed, but soon many strange occurrences begin to happen. In one scene, Samantha, a proud vegetarian, enters a demonic fugue state and eats raw ground beef straight from the package in a supermarket, an incident which comes off more as hilarious than creepy. After noticing strange symbols on his honeymoon videos, Zach researches the occult and discovers that Samantha is carrying the Antichrist.
The film is rife with problems. The acting is atrocious, with many important lines, such as Zach telling his wife how much he loves her as she experiences another paranormal episode, being delivered as though someone was rattling off a shopping list. The visual effects are also extremely sporadic, with doors and walls shattering around the main characters during moments of quiet simply to shock the audience — though the noise only succeeded at waking up sleepy audience members during the climax, reminding them the movie was still playing.
The greatest problem of this film is its failure creating an eerie atmosphere, which is essential for the genre. During a First Communion of a relative, the priest stops in the middle of his sermon and begins to have a stroke after staring at Samantha, almost as if her spirit were attacking him. Unfortunately, the film cuts away in the height of the action to another separate, low-stakes scene with the actors talking in hushed tones. This happens for almost every “scare” scene, eliminating the potential to really fill the viewers with fear.
“Devil’s Due” is boring, tired and demonstrates no creative effort from anyone involved with the production. It seems safe to say that, after surviving through this painful experience, the found footage genre will soon end and make way for more original and innovative films.