Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett — one half of the filmmaking quartet “Radio Silence” — bring the birth of the Antichrist to the big screen once more in “Devil’s Due.”
The obvious comparisons have been drawn to “Rosemary’s Baby,” albeiet unfairly. Roman Polanski produced the end-all-be-all of Antichrist movies, so setting your expectations that high will only lead to disappointment. However, “Devil’s Due” is a serviceable found footage flick with enough dumb fun to go around.
You may remember the “Radio Silence” dudes from their work on the super-fun and inventive final segment in the first “V/H/S,” movie entitled “10/31/98.” Co-directors and writers Matt and Tyler bring that same level of enthusiasm to “Devil’s Due,” with a lot of the action surprisingly not to be found in the trailers like so many other horror movies before it.
As found-footage films go, the plot hinges on the notion that a story arc can be entirely composed of a first person POV narrative. As part of such, certain creative licenses must be implemented in order to stretch the scope of the film a la “action cams,” security footage, home cameras and a digital handheld. Conveniently enough, “Devil’s Due” also sets up the lead character as being a tech nerd inclined to document anything and everything no matter what level of importance.
Newlyweds Zach and Sam have lived polar opposite lives up to meeting one another. Zach comes from affluence and has the support and acceptance of his loving family. Sam grew up in a foster home and has no family to speak of after a tragic car accident claimed her parents at birth. The complementary duo find themselves with an unexpected surprise on the way after a drunken night on their honeymoon leaves Sam implanted with the spawn of Satan.
In an attempt to separate itself from the likes of “Rosemary’s Baby,” the pregnancy is revealed in the early-going of the film. Given the title, there was seemingly no other option but to state the obvious right away. The rest of the movie is predicated upon the buildup to an already predetermined outcome. Unfortunately, there are no real surprises to come by in “Devil’s Due,” but the ride leading up to the ending is surprisingly fun given the lack of twists.
For being rather anticlimactic, the movie makes up for it by delivering creative scares and inventive effects. Sam goes in and out of being clear-headed and possessed by the devil spawn she’s carrying. As her body and mental state begin to deteriorate, her instinct to protect her baby at all costs strengthens, including, but not limited to, supernatural strength and a thirst for raw meat — both of which are detailed in the same dark comedic fashion that made “10/31/98” such a standout hit of the “V/H/S” anthology.
All in all, “Devil’s Due” manages to exceed lowered expectations while staying firmly planted in the shadow of “Rosemary’s Baby.” It will more than likely be forgotten as quickly as it leaves theaters, but the “Radio Silence” guys have managed to establish themselves as a bright-eyed, up-and-coming group of young horror directors — a very exciting prospect for the future of the genre.