‘Deliver Us’ (2023)— Religious Horror Drama Loses Its Faith Amongst Chaotic Spectacle

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3 min readMar 5, 2024

Cru Ennis and Lee Roy Kunz’s film Deliver Us sets itself apart from other titles in the religious horror genre by starting with a small focus and widening to something unexpectedly and suddenly on a grand scale. The filmmakers start to morph their story from its tight and arresting opening, serving what seemed like a private, personal approach of a divine miracle in the horror world, to something much more high-stakes and bombastic. Sister Yulia (Maria Vera Ratti), a nun in a remote convent becomes pregnant by immaculate conception with twins and is convinced that one child is good and the other evil. Father Daniel Fox (Lee Roy Kunz) accepts one last job before retiring to spend more time with his wife (Jaune Kimmel), to determine whether or not her pregnancy is part of a prophecy of the rebirth of the Antichrist.

For its first act, Deliver Us stays relatively focused, soaking in a paranoia of the other that religious horror can do so well. When Fox discovers that one of the unborn children is indeed the Antichrist, his priorities shift as does the film. With the help of Russo, a cardinal at the convent (Alexander Siddig), they escape from a one-eyed priest who has collected a veritable map of back tattoos, skinned from their respective owners, depicting some kind of Zoroastrian tableau on which the entire film’s plot is essentially condensed in pictographic detail.

Maria Vera Ratti in DELIVER US, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

But if the point of Deliver Us is to outline some saving grace of Catholicism in the face of abject doom or outright apocalypse, that message becomes further muddled amongst clumsy writing. Its dialogue highlights the investment of personal faith the creatives have put into this film, but even if those intentions were pure it plays out like a scare film with higher-profile practical effects. Deliver Us is performed on a stage that wants to be operatic but cannot manage to be more earnestly dramatic than other religious genre films like the Left Behind series. And despite the duality between the two warring priests here, everything just devolves into the same Zoroastrian viewpoint that controls the driving force of this film as well as its fate. This renders whatever point Kunz was banking on for his Catholic faith moot: faith is the absolute reigning justification not only for the seemingly evil priest trying to track down the twins of good and evil, but also for Father Fox who commits acts of terror only to be exonerated because of his dedication to the church.

Lee Roy Kunz and Alexander Siddig in DELIVER US, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Between the film’s first act and the development into its latter two, so many things occur that feel like they’re there to add chaos for the sake of chaos. If Yulia’s immaculate offspring were indeed some biblical chapter markers for humanity, once she and Father Fox escape the convent the entire planet seems to react accordingly. Apocalyptic threads simply appear with no prior knowledge of them in any capacity (not even the Zoroastrian doom maps that dominate the narrative in the beginning can help). It has a confusing effect on what the filmmakers were trying to do here rather than dressing its plot around what would be a story, however, there seems to be the absence of one in favor of just another set of plots masquerading as one. In revisiting the first 30 or so minutes of the film, keeping it small and cut off from the outside world might have done it a lot of good. But its hunger for spectacle comes with its caveats and diminishing returns, and in the case of Deliver Us, the beginning probably should have been the end.

Deliver Us is currently playing in select theaters and is available on VOD courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Thank you for reading!
This article was originally published October 3rd, 2023 on Geek Vibes Nation.

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