Gustavo Cooper skids the surface of a gimmick with “The Devil Incarnate” jumping from found footage, to pseudo-mockumentary, to classic narrative, and meta-horror erratically. And to the point where it becomes incredibly frustrating. “The Devil’s Incarnate” jumps between formats so much that it seems to try to unfold its narrative through these various formats to really emphasize the true horror of the scenario. And while you think that’d lead in to a very innovative and creepy horror film, it’s really just half baked and utterly mediocre when all is said and done. I can understand why people are sick of found footage movies, but what I’m sicker of these days are retreads of “Rosemary’s Baby.” And at least that story had something to say.
You can only push the woman having a demonic baby shtick for so long before it just gets disturbing, and for all the wrong reasons. Trevor and Holly are newlyweds that decide to travel on the road for their honeymoon, and come across a series of unusual sights. After passing a homeless man who leads them to a psychic woman, Holly is given an unusual charm necklace, and is disturbed by the woman who begins speaking to her on tongues. Days later after an accident, the couple find out Holly is indeed pregnant, and the two begin preparing for the bundle of joy. When Trevor introduces her to his family, and decides to give Holly a family she never had, Holly begins acting unusual, and the shit hits the fan. It’s baffling how the characters are just downright stupid in this movie, or just prefer to be oblivious to the greater details of what begins to occur.
Holly is an immediate threat to the structure of Trevor’s family, inexplicably, as she begins to flirt with his lesbian sister Marissa, and is even caught on camera groping Trevor’s father’s testicles, and through all of this as Marissa grabs video evidence, she never shows Trevor the hardcore proof. And surely enough, Trevor refuses to believe any of it. Let’s forget the fact it’s revealed in the movie no one has any idea of her maiden name, or where she grew up, but if Marissa has video proof, why doesn’t she ever make Trevor aware of it? And who walks in on their wife covered in blood, drawing pictures of dolls with her hands and just attributes it to hormones? The characters in “The Devil Incarnate” are much too stupid to empathize with, and Holly’s behavior is often too erratic to help viewers decide if she’s a villain, or someone being victimized in to evil.
As mentioned, L. Gustavo Cooper jumps between formats constantly, presenting a very uneven movie. The film begins on a whimsical animated prologue, jumps in to a live action introduction, and then flips back and forth between found footage and traditional narrative over and over. And even with jumping back and forth, director Cooper submits us to the usual found footage clichés, including the camera man leaving the camera on and turned to the right angle as action or something utterly creepy occurs. By the time we reach the finale, it’s made obvious what the big twist is, and its delivery—which could have been horrifying in the right hands—feels forced and abrupt. “The Devil Incarnate” is a painfully uneven and often boring horror installment that can never decide what it wants to be, or what it’s trying to say.