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What’s with the Devil Inside’s ending?

By / 01.09.12

Over the weekend, derivative, found-footage horror film The Devil Inside boldly proved to all the Oscar films it was competing against that reading is for fa99ots, and earned $34.5 million, good enough for the third-best January opening ever (behind Cloverfield and the Star Wars re-release), all on a $1 million budget. I didn’t see it because the trailer looked like a mash-up of horror movie tropes, and the found-footage conceit for movies is getting as old as the we’re-making-a-fake-documentary schtick is on TV, but all weekend I’ve been getting emails about the film’s ending, or lackthereof. It’s apparently rather abrupt, and points the audience to a website. Here’s what the filmmakers had to say about it:

Matthew Peterman [director]: We had a couple of endings that we were working on. Paramount did a really cool thing with that website (, to drive people to the website after the movie. We think it’s pretty cool, and that’s never really been done before, with the interactivity of that. Whether it works or not, we’ll see. Some people like it, and some people don’t, but as for the ending, and the abrupt nature of it, we played around with some stuff. But sometimes, in real life, and we tried to make this movie feel as real as possible, it doesn’t follow a three-act structure like movies do. Things don’t always end the way you expect them too, or they don’t end at the right time, or happily, either. We just tried to make a pretty realistic ending. What’s going on at the end of this film is very shocking, it’s intense, and there’s some evil going on, and it’s not always going to happen the way you expect it to. We just wanted to make it as realistic as possible. [MovieWeb]

Or, as FilmDrunkard Matthew describes it (which I guess is kind of a spoiler, even though it doesn’t get into plot details):

Did you see that f*cking movie?  They didn’t put an ending on the end of it. They literally ended it in the middle of some important shit, with a title card that said “if you want to know more, go to blah blah” or some shit.  I had no idea that was a option for movies, I thought that was something only porn does, like when you run out of previews you need to sign up on the website to see the rest.

I don’t want to unfairly generalize about the Devil Inside audience, but I do think it’s fair to assume that one thing a horror movie audience does demand is closure. Seeing how they solve the mystery is… pretty much the whole draw, isn’t it? Again, the filmmakers don’t think so:

William Brent Bell [writer]: People seem to understand movies so much, they want something different. But, when they get something different, they don’t like it. We all agreed, and Paramount and everybody, came to the conclusion to have the ending be this. We think it’s pretty ballsy, even for Paramount, to stand behind that, but we’re totally behind that. That website, we think it’s a pretty interesting experiment. There’s going to be a lot more on there that continues the story, even more than is on there now. It’s a continuation of the story, and it will be up on there sooner than you think. Nobody is waiting for the DVD extras. We’re going to show you a continuation of the story on that website very soon.

“We tried to give them something different, so we made a horror movie about exorcisms.” Huh, interesting take, I guess. Meanwhile, BoxOfficeMojo points out that “its CinemaScore leaned more “F” (19 percent) than “A” (16 percent),” while racking up ridiculously low 29% audience recommended on RottenTomatoes and 4.4 out of 10 stars on IMDB. Which I’m sure will have the filmmakers and studio sobbing into crumpled up balls of money and hookers.

I’m bummed too, though, because based on the title, I just assumed the ghost of Michael Hutchence had possessed that chick and she woke up choke-baiting and singing INXS songs. DUNT DUNT DUNNA DUNT, DUN DUN DUNT. DUNNA DUNT DUNT DUNNA DUNT…. Happened to my cousin once.

This week
Last week
Studio Weekend Gross % Change Theater Count / Change Average Total Gross Budget* Week #
1 N The Devil Inside Par. $34,500,000 - 2,285 - $15,098 $34,500,000 $1 1
2 1 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Par. $20,500,000 -30.3% 3,555 +100 $5,767 $170,201,000 $145 4
3 2 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows WB $14,055,000 -32.7% 3,603 -100 $3,901 $157,415,000 - 4
4 4 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Sony $11,300,000 -23.8% 2,950 +36 $3,831 $76,836,000 $90 3
5 3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Fox $9,500,000 -42.0% 3,425 -299 $2,774 $111,588,000 $75 4
6 5 War Horse BV $8,603,000 -40.4% 2,783 +236 $3,091 $56,828,000 $66 3
7 6 We Bought a Zoo Fox $8,450,000 -36.2% 3,170 +7 $2,666 $56,544,000 - 3
8 7 The Adventures of Tintin Par. $6,600,000 -42.3% 3,006 -81 $2,196 $61,880,000 - 3
9 17 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Focus $5,767,000 +431.3% 809 +752 $7,129 $10,418,000 - 5
10 8 New Year’s Eve WB (NL) $3,265,000 -48.5% 1,864 -361 $1,752 $52,026,000 $56 5



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