Deliver Us From Evil
An 1980s-style buddy movie meets The Exorcist as a troubled, edgy New York police officer (Eric Bana) teams up with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) schooled in exorcism to confront a series of demonic possessions that have spread across the city—and into the officer’s home.
Co-writer/director Scott Derrickson specializes in this kind of thing: He turned the real-life story of a “possessed” girl from a devoutly religious family into The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, and amplified the Super-8 snuff of Sinister into a hard-R supernatural thriller. Deliver Us From Evil teams him with another real-life demon, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who hasn’t ventured into horror since 1982’s Cat People.
The first trailer makes it look like a Scott Derrickson film through and through—more demon chicanery, a gray-black palette, a tortured male protagonist—but it also offers an unusually sustained look at a single setpiece, which may be a truer indicator of what the finished film will be like. (In a word: scary.)
Derrickson knows how to push buttons—he’s one of the loudest, most viscerally punishing horror directors around—but it’ll come down to whether that approach serves the material well (as it did in Sinister) or becomes overbearing (as it did in Emily Rose).
ANTICIPATION RATING: 5.2
The details sound interesting, but horror is a less than 50-50 bet, and we’re only willing to go so far as giving it a 50-50 chance of being good.
Earth To Echo
A group of pre-teen friends start receiving strange signals on their cell phones, which they follow to uncover a mysterious, mechanical-looking, yet strangely adorable alien life form. As they learn to communicate with the creature, they discover it needs their help—to phone home, perhaps?—which proves increasingly dangerous as their new discovery attracts the attention of adult officials. Oh, and they film the whole thing on various handheld recording devices, because that’s how we do things now.
While Earth To Echo is a product of Walt Disney Studios—though it's being distributed by Relativity—it’s devoid of name-recognition talent: The biggest name in its kiddie cast is Astro, a.k.a. Brian Bradley, a finalist on the first season of the American X Factor. It’s helmed by first-time feature director Dave Green, working from a script by first-time feature writer Henry Gayden, who collaborated with Green on the FearNet original webseries Zombie Roadkill.
Nothing apart from two official trailers, which make Earth To Echo look like a direct rip-off of E.T.—or perhaps J.J. Abrams’ 2011 E.T. homage Super 8—with a dash of Chronicle and Wall-E thrown in the mix.
With so many obvious comparison points, the burden is on Earth To Echo to distinguish itself as something unique rather than a lazy retread. Perhaps Astro will prove to be the, ahem, X-factor.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 4.1
Consensus vote suggests we might just want to go home and watch E.T. again. It’s been a while.
After losing her job at a burger joint and finding her husband in bed with another woman, Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) snaps and decides to hit the road with her hard-drinking, potty-mouthed grandmother (Susan Sarandon) in tow. References to Thelma And Louise appear inevitable.
Tammy has been described as “a labor of love” by McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who co-wrote the screenplay (Falcone is directing) and have been working to get the film produced for more than five years. Though Falcone has acted alongside McCarthy in Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Identity Thief, this is his first time writing or directing a feature. The pair has assembled an impressive cast of female actors to join McCarthy and Sarandon onscreen—including Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette, and Sandra Oh—and got backing from Gary Sanchez Productions, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s production company, responsible for films like Step Brothers and Anchorman 2, as well as Funny Or Die.
Not much beyond the cast and the logline, and a recently released teaser trailer that offers few plot details, but a good sense of the Chris Farley-esque comedic style McCarthy is bringing to the table. McCarthy has hinted that Tammy is going to walk the line between dark comedy and drama, though only the former is evident in the teaser.
McCarthy has proven herself a formidable comedic force in the years since Bridesmaids, usually playing the sort of wild-card character that needs to bounce off a more grounded co-star. Given the out-there-sounding description of Sarandon’s character, it’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic works here, especially if McCarthy’s comments about the film’s dramatic elements bear out.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 5.9
That teaser looks pretty dire, placing McCarthy firmly in the fatty-fall-down-go-boom arena of comedy. But she’s a smart, talented creator, and we’re all keeping our hopes up that her freedom on this project has produced something subversive that she’s just trying to sneak past the masses.