Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 27th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1971
Director: Joël Séria
Writer: Joël Séria
Cast: Jeanne Goupil, Catherine Wagener, Bernard Dhéran, Gérard Darrieu
DVD released: March 28th, 2006
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo French
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Anne and Lore are best friends who met at the Catholic school they attend. While at school they decide to dedicate their lives to Satan and when summer break arrives they spend the next two months pushing the boundaries of cruelty. The girls’ cruelty has no limits and the more sadistic they become the more they enjoy it. Will they ever be able to stop this maddening game they have concocted or have they gone too far?
Don’t Deliver Us from Evil is the controversial debut film by director Joel Seria that was banned in many countries due mostly to its depiction of the Catholic church. Seria for a first time director does an admirable job considering the films low budget. The cinematography is sumptuous and the use of real locations adds to the films documentary feel. The performances in the film especially those by the two female leads Jeanne Goupil and Catherine Wagener feels natural and unforced as they convincingly submerge themselves into the characters they are portraying.
The two girls besides playing pranks on men like Emile the farmers son, they kill defenseless animals like birds for no reason at all. These brief moments of animal cruelty are by far and away the most disturbing footage in the whole film. The main turning point in the film occurs when the girls pick up a stranded motorist who they tease and seduce like all the other men. He gets turned on just like the other only this time the girls are unable to control the situation and they have no other choice but to kill the man. It is after this moment that you know that they have sealed their fate and things could never be the way they once were.
Part of the plot revolves around the girls’ fascination with Satanism and there is even a scene in which they are married in the eyes of their lord. The film chamber music like score sounds like satanic hymns composed for Satan. The film never really establishes why the girls made the choices they did and outside of this oversight the rest of the plot is laid out in a convincing way. There is some mild violence and nudity that is integral too the story and it is not done in an exploitive way. Overall Don’t Deliver Us from Evil is a seductive tale about two girls who find pleasure in the pain and suffering they have inflicted on those who have crossed their paths.
Mondo Macabro presents Don’t Deliver us from Evil in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. There are a few minor instances with the colors looks muted and not as sharp as the rest of the transfer. There is noticeable grain through out most of the film and there are no problems with compression or artifacts. Some minor print damage crops up from time to time, still nothing that ever becomes distracting. Overall the transfers sports vivid colors and has sharp detail through out.
This release comes with one audio option the films original French language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio is more then adequate as dialog blends perfectly with the rest of the mix. Removable English subtitles have been include that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include a text essay about the film written by Pete Tombs, credits for the DVD release and an art gallery that includes lobby cards, stills and posters. Other extras include two interviews one with director Joel Seria and the other interview is with Jeanne Goupil. Joel Seria talks about censorship and other problems that plagued this film. Jeanne Goupil talks about her on the set experiences and her career after this film. Rounding out the extras is twelve minute interview with Paul Buck titled “Hellish Creatures” in which Buck talks about Pauline Parker and Juliet Hammond who crimes are reportedly the basis for this film and later their story would be made into the peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures.
This release marks the first time Don’t Deliver us from Evil has ever been released in America and Mondo Macabro’s release comes with a wide array of extras that give plenty of insight into the making of this film.