A tedious and wholly derivative horror experience from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
From poor conception through to shoddy delivery, Devil’s Due is a tedious and wholly derivative horror experience. Co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who made their name on one of the V/H/S horror anthology segments, and based on a script by Lindsay Devlin (supposedly inspired by a dream she had), the film cites Rosemary’s Baby as an obvious inspiration, but also lifts heavily from the found footage format revived by Paranormal Activity and copied relentlessly ever since.
The story follows Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller), a couple who video document everything in their lives: their wedding, their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, a weird party experience and their return home, where Sam discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant. As the months tick by, so too does the feeling that something isn’t right – and that something could be supernatural.
Far from being remotely scary, however, Devil’s Due is mostly just plain silly and often quite irritating. Why, for example, does a couple who tape everything never watch their recordings back until it’s too late? It’s just one of many plot inconsistencies and dubious sleights of hand that bedevil proceedings, and which extend to incorporating other video users for heightened horror sequences whenever momentum sags. Given the lack of invention in any of these sections though, it soon becomes difficult to care, particularly as the filmmakers would rather opt for repetitive jump scares (mostly using night vision) rather than going for anything remotely psychological, in the spirit of Polanski.
Come the overblown yet underwhelming finale and the nauseating second film set-up, viewers may well be screaming in agony for it to end. Devil’s Due, like so many modern horror films, is content to regurgitate tired formulas rather than really going for something different, unsettling or even remotely intelligent.