FINDING GOOD IN THE BAD: The Upside To “The Devil Inside”

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The weekend is coming to a close and once again, Paramount has a hit horror flick. The Devil Inside brought in an estimated $34.5 million this weekend, earning the third greatest January opening in history (Behind Cloverfield and the 97 re-issue of Star Wars). For a film that cost just under $1 million to make, that is one hell of a payday.

While the execs are celebrating, movie goers are not. Devil received an F on audience-polling site Cinescore, and our own Film Editor dedicated his latest edition of How Bad Is It to attempting to comprehend the film’s ending amongst a theater of booing horror fans.

So what is the good? The rich get richer, the fans feel jipped, and movies keep rolling out as always? Perhaps. Consider for a second however, what else can be taken away from this weekend:

  • Original horror still (financially) works. Regardless of your thoughts on the film itself, movie goers came out in droves to support the idea of something new and scary. In a world filled with sequels, this should speak volumes to studios.
  • R-Rated, non-torture horror is welome (and wanted) in the mainstream. Even as the effects of the internet and its exposure of everything to everyone furthers its grasp on the world, studios have in recent years mainly gone PG-13 when making wide release horror. Though many could probably argue the necessity of an R on Devil Inside, the box office numbers prove the restriction did not hold back the majority of patrons. Further, we now live in a world of access. As soon as a film is made available for streaming anywhere, anyone can view it. Why hold back?
  • Word of mouth is the ultimate tool. As big as the box office is estimated to be, there is no denying the outpouring of opinion on the film. From the moments the first screenings let out on the East Coast thru now, it has been near impossible to avoid talk, or rather warnings of the film on social media, news sites, and the like. It may not have prevented the film from doing well this weekend (“no such thing as bad PR”), but the film’s performance in the following weeks will ultimately decide audience reaction and opinion. It is a “fool me once, shame on you” situation that, if proven true through a large enough dropoff in the coming week, will most likely prevent any attempts at sequels and serve as a reminder that people are not foolish as it seems studios think them to be more often than not.

There are more points to be made, like the fact people seem to never tire of exorcism stories, but to highlight those would prove only a means of distracting you from the above items. Regardless of how you left the theater or what your friends told you of the film, horror buffs around the world need to recognize the success of The Devil Inside, much like the success of Insidious,  helps open a doorway for future genre films and filmmakers.

Don’t hate (too much). Just appreciate the artform for what it is and recognize the opportunities made available as a result of its success. Also, as always, if you really hate it that much, go out make something better. Go on, I’ll wait.

Written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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