Deliver Us (2023) Film Review
With all the recent hype about the new Exorcist film that’s come out in theaters, it’s only relevant to think how the film tackles its inherent religious aspect. The original William Friedkin film is an exorcism film, of course, but it’s also about the mystery of faith, and how it relates intimately to our beliefs. Our belief system can be twisted as the film showed. But in The Exorcist: Believer, this isn’t deeply explored.
Coincidentally, Deliver Us landed in my hands in recent days. The film, directed by Cru Ennis and Lee Roy Kunz, runs on a similar bloodline about the spectrum of religion in foreign cultures, and ultimately the battle between good and evil. However, Deliver Us isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a modern horror film. It’s not the explosive popcorn flick with excessive jump scares and creepy imagery. It’s more of a grounded film that uses its independent film boundaries to land its story and tell a worthy story about faith, and its resilience when facing the improbable.
Yes, Deliver Us made me forget about legacy sequels and all that. At least for a couple of days.
The film tells the story of a Vatican priest sent over to Russia to investigate a strange occurrence: A nun is pregnant with twins and she claims it was an immaculate conception. When Father Fox arrives, the place reeks of secrecy and conspiracies. It’s only when he discovers a secret society that intends to stop the pregnancy, that he decides to do something about it. These twins aren’t just regular siblings. Like their mommy says, apparently one’s the Messiah, while the other’s the Anti-Christ. Father Fox partners up with the expectant mother and runs away. But the Vox Dei won’t stop until they find them.
Writers Lee Roy Kunz and Kane Kunz could have easily stayed with a traditional narrative and made a regular horror film. Instead, they’ve created a contemplative thriller that doesn’t smell of anything we’ve seen in the past. The so-called conflict comes from religious guys who each seeks their own truth and their version of the story. Father Fox follows his instinct, and acts above religion, following his human drive to protect. Fox’s character is flawed by nature, and his burden comes from his past. His journey is one of redemption that he ultimately finds by paying a price.
The best thing about this uncommon direction is best seen in the third act. One that lacks the usual elements of horror thrillers: graphic violence, reveals, and justice. There is a final message here, and it’s much more optimistic than expected. It’s one that seems to regard a resolution of some sorts, but doesn’t completely open the window into a conclusion. I guess it’s up to those babies becoming what they need to become when they grow up, and they recognize themselves.
From a technical perspective, the film’s flawless. Cinematography and score are noteworthy, and are part of a composition that makes the film stand above its independent horror peers. This only makes me more excited to see what’s in the future for this crew. They certainly know how to give traditional horror a twist, and if all of their films will manage to look this one, then it’s settled. They need to make more.