DELIVER US (2023) Review by Steve Kirkham



3 stars. Altitude. Digital platforms 19th February

DELIVER US, another film in the long running fascination with the Anti-Christ, opens strongly with several naked folk being lined up and beheaded. Their back skin is sliced off as they feature tattoos that predict the coming of satan and the messiah at the same time. Sister Yulia (Maria Vera Ratti) awakens from seeing this nightmare vision in her dreams – is it reality?

Father Fox (Lee Roy Kunz – who also co-directed with Cru Ennis and co-wrote the script with his brother Kane), is a priest well versed in exorcism, though he usually looks for a more scientific explanation than that of satanic possession. He is tasked with helping Sister Yulia, who is somehow pregnant with twins – by immaculate conception it seems – and may well be the fulfilment of the prophecy of one evil and one good child being born. Fox reluctantly agrees to try and assist – despite him looking to leave the priesthood and wed his also pregnant girlfriend Laura (Jaune Kimmel), who comes from a rich mining family. Added into the mix is Cardinal Russo (Alexander Siddig). As luck, and plot contrivances go, Laura’s family have a remote cabin where they can all hide out – as they are being chased by a secret cult lead by creepy, one eyed Father Saul (Thomas Kretschmann) who we saw overseeing the skinning in the opening sequence. Will evil triumph?

Films involving priests battling the devil are rarely subtle and this is no exception, presenting a trashy plotline that often reminds one of those Italian exploitationers that followed the release of THE EXORCIST back in the 70s. It rarely meets those heights but gives it a good go, though it is tonally all over the place. It starts well, but then slows down and sags a bit in the middle, before going for it at the end – with the final denouement being somewhat cheesy. Still it has beheadings, psychic babies, attacking wolves and secret cults to recommend it, and a central conceit where those involved must try and discern which of the new-born babies is good and which is satanic. It’s nothing if not ambitious – even if it can’t quite deliver.

Steve Kirkham