Dave White
Devil's Due Review

Dave's Rating:

1.0

Oh hell no.

Dear Animatronic Devil Baby of YouTube,

You made me believe in you for a few glorious moments as you wheeled yourself remote-controlledly around that unsuspecting city, popping out of your perambulator to screech, fake-puke, give cop cars the finger and, most importantly, scare the hell out of passersby. You have been the best thing on the internet this week.

But you were too good to be true. You were just a soldier of marketing fighting an unjust war. You'll probably bring a box office boost to Devil's Due on its opening weekend, luring in ticket-buyers who might not have otherwise given it a chance. And they'll be hoping to see you do your thing, right after you claw your way out of that stupid human's womb.

And they will not find you. And they will mourn the thing that never was.

You are nowhere to be seen in Devil's Due, you beautiful robot demon vomit delivery system. Instead, the humans -- newlyweds (Zach Gilford, Allison Miller) impregnated with a satanic parasite during a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic -- are everywhere, their miniature body-cams turned on at all times, creating their own paranormal inactivity by way of a foggy, half-remembered, anti-mysterious version of Rosemary's Baby. They wonder why freaky stuff is happening, they talk about kale and Vitamix juicers right before the expectant belly bloats itself like an R-rated Tums commercial. And we wait and we wait for you, the Godot/Guffman who never arrives. Devil Baby of YouTube, why hast thou forsaken this movie?

With a little effort, Devil's Due could have been a schlocky, anxiety-packed treat. And frankly, with or without you, Devil Baby, there could have been outrageous fetal mayhem. With a little more effort, it could have made better sense. Terror stalks the pregnancy but even though some of the warning signs take place in public settings, they're shrugged off as discrete, unrelated incidents, no follow-through asked for or delivered. And with a little more effort than that, we might have wound up with a sly horror critique of narcissistic attachment parenting: What To Expect When You're a Self-Involved Doofus Expecting Satan's Spawn..

But no. Instead we get a shrug of an ending and the promise of a sequel. Devil Baby, if you have any true evil power, please destroy the execution of that impulse from wherever it is you're hiding.

As it sleepwalks its way toward the climax, the one the film's been announcing for 75 minutes, we're finally treated to some nastiness and gruesome antics worthy of a movie that wants to shock reasonably intelligent adults. But by then it's too late, and you remain absent, Devil Baby. We get nothing. We believe the viral marketers again and again and we are fooled just as many times, and we blame ourselves, not you. We deserve just what we get when we take the bait. But we'll always remember you as pure, a bright hell-thing made of golden barf.

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