by George Wolf
On the heels of that evil nun’s return to theaters, Deliver Us arrives with a sexy nun, a horny priest, one ancient prophecy and two incredible claims.
In a Russian convent, sister Yulia (Maria Vera Ratti) is pregnant – with twins. Not only is Yulia claiming immaculate conception instead of virgin birth (remember kids, the immaculate conception was of Mary, not Jesus), but she says one of her unborn children is the Messiah, and the other is the Anti-Christ.
The Church promptly reaches out to the handsome Father Daniel Fox (Lee Roy Kunz) for an investigation (Father Joseph McDreamy was apparently busy). Though the American priest has a history of success with these “demonic” cases, he also has a high level of skepticism and a belief that most can be explained through natural science.
Father Fox is also expecting a child with a prominent Russian bussinesswoman, and is planning on leaving the Church to start a family. Still, he accepts this last assignment, and soon uncovers a secret society’s plan to kill sister Yulia before her twins can fulfill that centuries-old prophecy.
The ancient order/prophecies fulfilled stuff is fertile ground for horror films. And though Kunz – who also co-writes and co-directs – is shaky on religion (the film also has a Catholic bishop trying to talk Father Fox out of leaving the Priesthood by arguing that celibacy is merely a “tradition”), a brutal opening sequence and the resulting mystery combine to set an intriguing hook.
Cinematographer Isaac Bauman gives the film a dark, gorgeously foreboding aesthetic, using stark confines and snowy landscapes to great effect. Candlelit rooms and steam heat in winter air are framed with a fine construction that adds to the feeling of isolation once Father Fox, sister Yulia and the twins set out on the run.
Sacrifices are demanded, and blood is spilled, but as the mystery unfolds, the unfortunate layer of silliness that plagues many films in this demonic subgenre begins to creep in. Even worse, two incredulous Shining references appear to nearly comedic effect, derailing the mood in an instant.
The writing and directing teams also seem overly concerned with the lack of eroticism in the exorcism game. And though Deliver Us can be a horny little devil, some fine production elements are ultimately let down by a script too distracted to satisfy.