First of all I am not ashamed to say I have a degree in Film Studies. The art of film has intrigued me all my life. I have had a lot of experience on movie sets as an extra and some camera and editing experience.
I am open-minded to all kinds of movies, and some movies that will intrigue me will not intrigue most others. The film Devil’s Due I will rate about a 6.5/10. I give this a higher than average rating because the film did achieve ‘creepiness’ status for me. I did actually jump a few times throughout the film which according to other reviews I have read did not achieve this for them. The film does however mirror the franchise of Paranormal Activity. I was not a lover of handheld cameras at all until PA came into my life. Maybe one day I will go back and watch The Blair Witch Project (1999) and see how the infancy stage of what this genre names ‘found footage’ films.
In this film the subjective camera’s view point is ‘creepy’ makes the film feel real, despite the simplicity of the narrative. I think this film’s main focus is not the narrative, but the focus on realism by the use of the hand held camera. Realists theorists like Andre Bazin, believe that these types of films are an “extention of photography.” Although this film might be a simplistic view of that theory, I think ‘hand held’ camera movies try to create this belief.
Other examples of realism are the use of unknown cast members and the location shooting which was held in the Dominican Republic. The first 1/2 hour of the film is recorded in that country. The scenery was obviously real and the fast paced editing and real sets make this film feel authentic to me. I feel the film is trying to make the ‘antichrist’ theory seem real to the audience. It does work to some affect.
Going back to the ‘found footage’ films of the 90’s and onward, I do not believe this is exactly that genre. The footage recorded was not found by the characters, the film is recorded in the present to use as keepsakes for the family. This was done by Paranormal Activity 4 when the daughter in the film uses a home video camera and records what are ‘gotcha moments’ of real life.
As for the narrative of Devil’s Due, it made use of jump cut editing. Many of the scenes leaving the audience with unanswered questions. For example, who exactly were the people watching the couple. Were they a cult? Why did they choose this family? The film gave suggestions but never solid answers. Which is part of what intrigued me about the movie also. I think most people like to have answers in film, the Hollywood way to film. A introduction, a climax and then the conclusion to put it all together. A linear Hollywood narrative. As for me, I do not need answers to it all. Keep me guessing is what intrigues me. Keeps me talking about a movie to my friends and the art to filmmaking is how everyone sees things differently. The episodic structure of filmmaking bores most people but looking at this style of filmmaking intrigues me and gives me pleasure.
I think that Devil’s Due delivers, although a strong narrative is somewhat missing, its pace is better than most movies I have been watching lately at 2.5 and 3 hours long !!!!