Saturday, April 21, 2018

But Deliver us from Evil – review

Director: Joshua Coates

Release date: 2017

Contains spoilers

Lilith (Alice Rose) has become linked to the media vampire but let us not forget that this is a fairly recent pairing, and also note that the alleged first wife of Adam (Marsahn Wilson) might be the adoption of Babylonian myth or even just a medieval elaboration to Jewish folklore.

Despite being human (she is made from the same clay as Adam but refuses to bow to the innate misogyny of man), she is then called a demon. Indeed in this she is tied into the myth of the succubus (and, indeed, the gender fluid nature that allows the succubus to become the incubus (James A. Sims)). I would also say that (possibly by accident) the filmmakers have tied this to the lamia – they give her a snake aspect that I suspect is meant to tie into the serpent in the Garden of Eden but such an aspect is immediately reminiscent of the lamia and, if you look at the work of Twitchell, there is an argument, which might be made, that the link between the lamia and the media vampire is actually longer apparent than that of Lilith.

Eric Roberts as  Leigh Warring
So, the film starts off with a biblical quote (from Isiah) that mentions Lilith and a retelling of Sodom and Gomorrah’s story with a Lilith addition. It then cuts to a show (as the credits role) hosted by Leigh Warring (Eric Roberts, Lost Girl, Halloween Hell & Sicilian Vampire), this show seems to be anti-religious or cynical thereof, though the film essentially takes a pro-Christianity position. We also hear about an evangelical ministry run by Robert J Knight (Joseph Gian) and his wife Tammy (Veronica Petrucci) – who are actually doing good in the world.

RJ Konner as detective Reid
We see Knight in a hotel, he goes into a room and a woman is waiting for him (she remains in shadow/silhouette but you wouldn’t lose the bet if you guessed it is Lilith). They end up in bed, she scratches his chest and licks the blood from her hand and then attacks. The police are called to the hotel and lead detective Mckenzie Reid (RJ Konner) is called in. The suspicion is that a specific serial killer has returned. We later discover that hunting the killer had previously cost Reid his marriage.

Jeremiah and Charles
We see social worker Charles (Franklin Ojeda Smith) trying to place Jeremiah (Grant Harvey) with temporary fosters but he is rejected as a youth with no past. This was meant to be a temporary solution before he goes to college. Later we see Jeremiah leaving his room, going outside as he thinks someone is near. He is stopped from walking out in front of a car by Charles. Jeremiah was sleepwalking and suffers from vivid visions, mostly when asleep but sometimes when awake. When he gets to college he is placed in the Jocks’ dorms and his roommate, Pete (Pooch Hall), is less than impressed with being saddled with the weird kid – especially when he has a vision of Pete’s death.

Alice Rose as Lilith
So, convoluted story aside, Lilith is back in the city and is alternatively killing men and also causing unsuspecting men to carry her offspring, that then burst from their stomach. We see this once with a business man, Todd (Dave Shaver), who collapses, is given cpr (which is aborted when a snake comes from his throat) and then something bursts from his stomach. Those around him at the time do not describe it to police, it appears, though it is clear that something exploded from within.

wings on show
Lilith sometimes appears scaled and produces fangs (and bites in a standard vampire way if they are out). We get a moment when she is winged and they are bat wings. A cross holds her back at one point (though she can enter a church/ministry). Jeremiah becomes the focus of her attention when she realises there is something about him and he, in turn, discovers that he is a descendent of the righteous man from Sodom and Gomorrah and his visions are real.

It is quite a convoluted story and one got the feeling that they were pulled in multiple directions as they built the story, with Lilith trying to hatch a macrocosmic plot but that plot was overwhelmed by microcosmic moments in the film. Probably one of the biggest problems was with Lilith and the performance thereof – actress Alice Rose tried her best, I’m sure, but simply did not have the presence to convince the viewer that she was an ancient evil looking to destroy the world and her performance lacked any nuance. Indeed, there were several performances that lacked the conviction this needed – though Grant Harvey tried his damnedest. The effects were passable for a film that was filmed on a fairly tight budget but ultimately I wasn’t convinced. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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