Devil’s Due: a found-footage Rosemary’s Baby…that’s not very good

Devils-Due-IntlPoster

I feel like the horror genre has had a rough run lately. The Conjuring and You’re Next may have freshened things up last summer, but what have we had since then? Insidious: Chapter 2? Not as good as the original. Carrie? An unnecessary remake. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones? Don’t even get me started. You’ll see my rant on that in the near future. Then, Devil’s Due came along, and I thought, “Well…maybe.” So I caught a showing with a couple of friends.

Devil’s Due basically sets itself up as a modern, found-footage version of Rosemary’s Baby (an excellent film that I praise in this write-up of my favorite horror classics). The film could be very interesting— the key words being “could be.” But the fact is this found-footage horror simply fails to deliver.

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Synopsis: “After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple finds themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy. While recording everything for posterity, the husband begins to notice odd behavior in his wife that they initially write off to nerves, but, as the months pass, it becomes evident that the dark changes to her body and mind have a much more sinister origin.” Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.

The Good: Lead characters in horror films can be tricky to create—sometimes they’re downright unlikeable, other times they have no personality whatsoever. Luckily, newlyweds Sam (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) are pretty easy to like. They are both sweet characters, and they are quite adorably in love. You get to see them doing lots of cute, couple-preparing-for-a-baby things, but it’s not cheesy, and there’s always a sense of dread accompanying these things, as we know who the baby’s real father is. Plus, the pregnancy gradually makes Sam into a different, almost zombie-like person, which worries poor Zach to death. There are a few solid creepy moments—several involving Sam in the nursery, where she often spaces out. There’s also a pervading sense of being watched, and not just because Zach is toting around a camera for a good chunk of the film. Mysterious people are always watching the couple’s home; sometimes they are literally watching from the street, but more often than not they are spying via several secret cameras. There are definitely enough things going on to keep your interest. Favorite scene: Pregnant Sam goes grocery shopping and behaves a little…unconventionally. I won’t spoil it, but her odd behavior draws more than a few startled looks. One kid stares with an open mouth, and it’s pretty funny.

The Bad: The scares aren’t scary enough. We see most of them coming, and we know exactly how they’re going to happen. Seriously, this material could’ve been borrowed from any found-footage film, and just about any found-footage film has done it better. I think the film is relying on its sense of dread to carry it, but dread has to have a payoff, and, in my humble opinion, the payoff here isn’t big enough. There are also several instances when so much more could’ve been done to make for a more compelling story. For example, Sam goes to church and spooks a priest in a fairly fun moment. Yet almost nothing is done with the church or the priest after this, save a brief scene involving Zach and the priest later. Sam is having a demonic baby—shouldn’t there be more tension with the church? It’s one of many missed opportunities. Even the cult monitoring Sam and Zach becomes a fairly wasted element as we hardly learn anything about them. Basically, Devil’s Due has a potentially interesting story, but it’s watered down vagueness and lack of originality. Disappointment at its finest. Least favorite scene: Pretty much the entire end of the film. The big climax is ridiculously overdramatic, and what follows is ridiculously anticlimactic. Not exactly the best one-two punch.

To Sum It Up: Unfortunately, this film is everything I was afraid it would be: predictable, derivative, and not very scary. It doesn’t hold a candle to Rosemary’s Baby. And so the trend of bland horrors continues. Let’s hope the genre bounces back. And soon.

My Grade: D+

Sorry if this review seemed to lack enthusiasm. This was the definition of a “meh” film. However, lots coming at you this week! More guest resolutions, a post about a TV premiere, and, hopefully, another review of a new movie. Stay tuned!

P.S. I just found out that I have been accepted into the Large Association of Movie Blogs, which means I’m a little LAMB! Number 1731, to be exact. You can check out my profile here. So thrilled to have been accepted into this wonderful organization! :D

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63 thoughts on “Devil’s Due: a found-footage Rosemary’s Baby…that’s not very good

  1. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on Devil’s Due!! Sounds terrible.

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY on being a LAMB : ) Now I can nominate you for wonderful things in a month or so : )

  2. Congratulations, Lammie!

    And. I think this review had plenty enthusiasm. It’s just enthusiasm to convince me how bad it is. And you have. This might be the most negative I’ve ever seen you be, and I’m pretty certain I have never seen you award a grade as low as this one before.

    So. I’ll skip this while it’s in theaters and wait for Blu-Ray.

    • Haha thanks, buddy! Blu-ray/DVD is definitely your best bet–if even that. I think the only thing I’ve ever graded lower was the third Hangover, which I just gave a D. It was atrocious.

      • I agree. I like found-footage films when they’re executed properly. Yes, most of them are bad, but it’s not b/c they’re found footage films, but b/c they’re not written well – which is the case with non-found-footage films, too.

      • Well the trick with found footage is that they’re supposed to be realistic but not boring, right? I feel like a lot of them have problems with one extreme or the other–either they’re so realistic that they get kind of dull (i.e. Blair Witch Project) or they’re so fake that they get cheesy, particularly in regards to dialogue (I’m thinking of Diary of the Dead). Sometimes, it’s hard to find found footage films that hit that sweet spot between the two extremes.

      • Did you see “Hard Candy”? That’s another one Isaacs and I completely disagree about. I love it while he loathes it! What did you think about it? If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s one of the most intriguing and original concepts I’ve seen. Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson were tremendous in those roles. I think Isaacs would agree with that statement; he just thought it was slow and dull.

      • Yes, you should definitely see it and then see if you agree with me or Isaacs. Don’t read his review until after you watch it as I think he has some potential spoiler material on there. It will be very interesting to see what you think. I personally believe every girl, especially young girls, should watch this movie. It’s an insane psychological thriller, but I think it actually has a positive message.

      • She’s awesome in it; should have been nominated for an Oscar in this instead of “Juno” which is a role she really didn’t do much.

  3. Is this the same film that did that viral campaign on Youtube where they had an animatronic devil baby jumping from under its blankets and giving passers-by heart attacks? Now, that was scary! Sounds scarier than the film itself though, judging by your review.

    And well done on becoming a LAMMY! :)

  4. I got about an hour into this and I didn’t think it was THAT bad. I even kind of liked the scene with the deer. I still have to finish it though. It’s better than The Last Exorcism and The Devil Inside (so far)

    • Did you not like The Last Exorcism? I actually thought it wasn’t that bad. But yeah The Devil Inside blows. Hahaha. We’ll see what you think of the end of this one…

      • Well… I finished it… I didn’t think it was THAT bad. I couldn’t even finish American Hustle or Pain N Gain. At least I was compelled to finish it. Still better (to me) than Last Exorcism or Devil Inside. And I’m not comparing this to horseshit like Mad Cowgirl :)

        I guess: meh, didn’t bother me too much :)
        <3

      • Cara, “The Last Exorcism” is one of the films Isaacs and I totally disagree about. The Last Exorcism is one of my all-time favorite movies. I loved the execution! Here is a movie with a spiritual message dressed-up as a horror. As much as many hate the ending, they’re missing the point and want an answer about Nell and her condition, etc. but the actual point of the story was about Pastor Cotton and how thru the years he began to doubt God so much to the point he questioned if He even existed at all; and then at the end at the bonfire Cotton got his faith back as he stepped to the cult with the cross raised over his head. THAT was the point of the movie. A Pastor who lost his faith and then gained it back at the end. Whatever happened after that moment was irrelevant. Did Pastor Cotton die? What did they do to Nell? How did Caleb & Nell get taken into this cult? etc. But those answers would merely quench one’s curiosity, but they aren’t actually relevant to the point of the story – which was about Cotton’s faith. Whether Cotton lived or died at the end makes no difference; his faith was back and that was the point. Even if he did die, he died in faith – which is what makes this such a beautiful story and why it’s one of my favorite movies.

      • Wow. You’re pretty passionate about this one, huh? Lol. Honestly, I don’t remember it super clearly, but I remember liking it okay!

      • Cara, I agree with Isaacs on this one. As a matter of fact I watched this a couple months ago and told Isaacs to give it a go b/c I didn’t think it was nearly as bad as many of the reviews suggested. I do agree with you that it could have been better, but I don’t think it was bad; just not as good as it could have been. And yes, the grocery store scene was actually pretty epic! lol. That scene is actually a memorable and classic scene. :)

      • Meh. This one just did not do it for me. The grocery store scene was the only truly great moment in it, in my opinion, and the rest was pretty forgettable. The premise was interesting enough–they just didn’t do enough with it. Rosemary’s Baby is always going to be top dog in the devil baby category. ;)

      • Rosemary’s Baby is the “mother” of that genre. har, har! Definitely a classic. :)

  5. Pingback: DEVIL’S DUE (2014) TWO TOP HATS | Isaacs Picture Conclusions

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