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UnknownA title card near the beginning of “The Devil Inside” reads “The Vatican does not endorse this film.” I know how they feel. I can’t endorse it either.

Set in 2009, it’s a mock documentary—think the “Blair Witch Exorcism”—about a daughter’s search to find out the truth about her mother. In 1989 Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), mother of Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) murdered three people during an exorcism. Twenty years later Isabella, documentary camera in tow, travels to Rome where her mother is being treated in an institution. There she hooks up with two rogue priests who perform unauthorized exorcisms. Their examination of Maria—to determine if she is mentally ill or is actually possessed—results in a devilish domino effect.

“The Devil Inside” is an exceedingly silly movie. The naturalism that makes other “found footage” movies like “Paranormal Activity” so effective is missing, replaced with stilted acting, clunky dialogue—When good old mom tells Isabella that her actions are “against God’s will,” Isabella pronounces, “That means something, right?”—and WAY too much pointless exposition. Is it really necessary to explain that the possession of one body by several demons is known in the profession as—wait for it!— “multiple demonic possession”?

Worse, there’s more talk of exorcism than actual exorcisms. They prattle on and on about the particulars of possession, but when they actually do one it is with all the out-of-focus, wobbly camera anti-panache these “found footage” films are known for.

There’s no pea soup, no head spinning, just some contorting and hard to see special effects. Even the battle between good and evil—the thing that made “The Exorcist” the benchmark of devil possession movies—doesn’t register. If you don’t care about the characters you certainly won’t care about whatever may be living inside them.

In its slight 80 minute running time—just about the best thing I can say about this movie is, ‘Hey, at least it wasn’t longer!—“The Devil Inside” has one or two fleeting moments that will raise the hair on the back of your hand. The rest of the time you’ll be resting your head against the back of your hand trying not to fall asleep.

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