I love a good psychological thriller. If there's a supernatural element to the story, it also has the potential to mess with my mind and freak me out. There's a new film coming out from Sinister director Scott Derrickson called Deliver Us From Evil that looks like it will do just that. One of the craziest aspects of the film is the fact that it's based on actual events.
I've always been interested in the supernatural, and I've done a good amount of reading up on this kind of stuff over the years. When I see a movie that is based on a true story, I like to do a little research to see what really happened.
Deliver Us From Evil, which premieres July 2, follows the true account of NYPD Sargent Ralph Sarchie, and it's based on the book he wrote, Beware the Night. The stories are directly taken from Sarchie's undisclosed police files. In the movie, Sarchie (played by Eric Bana) meets a renegade priest (played by Édgar Ramírez) during a case, which that the priest believes is demonic related. At first the officer doesn't believe in that kind of stuff and needs some convincing. They team up to solve the case and in the process combat the paranormal forces working against them. You get a little bit more insight into what Sarchie experienced in the description of the book that you can read below:
"A sixteen-year NYPD veteran, Ralph Sarchie works out of the 46th Precinct in New York's south Bronx. But it is his other job that he calls ‘the Work’: investigating cases of demonic possession and assisting in the exorcisms of humanity's most ancient—and most dangerous—foes. Now he discloses for the first time his investigation into incredible true crimes and inhuman evil that were never explained, solved, or understood except by Sarchie and his partner. Schooled in the rituals of exorcism, and an eyewitness to the reality of demonic possession, Ralph Sarchie has documented a riveting chronicle of the inexplicable that gives a new shape to the shadows in the dark.”
I can't even imagine what it would be like to go through the stuff that Sarchie has! I've done a little ghost hunting with friends for fun in the past, but I've never experienced anything like what is described in his book. According to reports he's conducted over 50 paranormal cases in his career, and in a recent trailer for an upcoming documentary called Sarchie, he says, "I'm a demonologist, and I'm going head to head with the devil." Throughout his career he has investigated witches, confronted satanists, and assisted in 20 exorcisms, some of them exhibiting extraordinary phenomena.
In a 2004 interview on radio show Coast to Coast, Sarchie detailed some of his nightmarish encounters with poltergeists and the supernatural, like an 8-year-old girl who was possessed and spoke fluent Latin. Sarchie explained to Coast to Coast that the exorcisms he assists on "are often performed at a church, and the person having the ritual performed on them, is usually restrained, sometimes even straight-jacketed. People can sometimes become possessed by curses, particularly by family members, if they are fueled by intense hatred." He also noted that according to the late Father Malachi Martin, who was a friend of his, "demonic spirits inhabit a 'middle plateau,' that is somewhere between our plane of existence and the realm of God."
Eric Bana's co-star Olivia Munn revealed at a press conference that this stuff was so frightening for him that he couldn't sleep for three weeks while he was researching the events described in Sarchie's book. Bana then went on to say that he was "coming from a skeptical place" when he took on the role and added, "[Director] Scott [Derrickson] scared the bejeezus out of me in pre-production. He had access to some materials that Ralph Sarchie had."
I'm really excited about this movie. In my opinion, the closer they stick to the original stories and source material the scarier the movie will be.