On first take, you might not think 'Deliver Us From Evil', a new film starring Eric Bana and Directed by Scott Derrickson, is a Christian movie, but the filmmakers and the subject of the story insist that it is all about God.
"The movie isn't about a cop or the Devil, it's about God," Ralph Sarchie, the NYPD detective who came to fight spiritual bad guys, just like he fought earthly ones, told Arrow in the head recently. " There's a spirituality. We have aspects of life we're involved in but we really have no idea about the spiritual battle that rages around us that we are the subject of. The whole matter is the Devil tries to take souls away from God, and God tries to keep them. And that's what this is all about."
The movie, certainly not family entertainment, is based on Sarchie's journey from non-believer to Christian, as he struggles with his own personal issues, and begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He, played by Eric Bana, joins forces with an unconventional priest played by Edgar Ramirez, knowledgable in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are plaquing their city. The movie is based upon Sarchie's Biography, Beware the Night, which details Sarchie's bone-chilling real-life cases as he comes to know the 'primary evil' behind some of the most horrible things people do. The book is a non-fiction work, according to Sarchie, but the movie is a work of fiction based on his experiences.
The Film's director, Derrickson, is not from the school of filmmaking that is all about entertainment, either. He approached this project as a Christian, with purpose. He also directed 2005's, The exorcism of Emily Rose and he counts devout Christian, and Southern Gothic horror writer Flannery O'Connor as one of his heroes.
He spoke recently with Christianity Today about making Deliver us From Evil, and how the comradery of the crew was built around the seriousness of the material.
"...In showing them some of the research videos-exposing them to some of the exorcism videos, in particular-the seriousness of the subject matter hit them," he said. "I showed them things I wouldn't show anybody otherwise. Suddenly, all of them realized that we're trying to make a real movie here-something that really happens in the world. You don't have to believe evil in order to be disturbed by the profound human suffering in the video."
Derrickson has expressed that horror is the perfect genre to make a Christian film.
For him, the exorcism theme and the spiritual battles that he highlights, are not about the blood and gore and shock value that go along with it.
"The exorcists I've approached in real life are not making a game of it-they're not interested in the demonic-they care about people. They have helped people find relief in ways that they couldn't find from the psychological or material world."
Ralph Sarchie has made it know that he shows his charity by engaging evil in the supernatural struggle of exorcism, while Derrickson has devoted himself to using the light of his camera to expose evil for God's glory. Both men want to show that the world is far more than just a material world, and there are dark forces that need to be brought to light.
The movie is set to be released on Wednesday, July 2nd, in theaters nationwide.
Watch the trailer below or an interview with Ralph Sarchie here.