We’ve seen so many scary pseudo-documentaries over the past few years alone – be it the Paranormal Activity movies, The Last Exorcism, or this year’s (lackluster) sci-fi/horror flick, Apollo 18 – that virtually everyone seems to be familiar with the genre’s clichés, at this point. Enter the latest addition to the group: The Devil Inside.

Devil Inside is already in a tough spot, simply because the fake horror documentary format has been used so often in recent memory that… well, it’s arguably all the harder for it to not feel tired or repetitive by now. Does the film’s trailer suggest it can still be effectively unsettling, in spite of that?

In a word: maybe. This Devil Inside trailer arguably feels like a “best of” sampling of scenes and creepy imagery from other recent releases. However, it still packs somewhat of a emotionally disturbing punch, if only because there are some genuinely troubling moments and unsettling visuals on display… though, chances are good that you will also experience some serious déjà vu while watching the film’s theatrical preview.

Real quick: Here is an official synopsis for The Devil Inside:

Her entire life, Isabella Torelli (Fernanda Andrade) believed her mother brutally murdered three people because she was clinically insane. After being told the murders occurred during an exorcism, she sets out to discover the truth. While documenting her experience with a film crew in Italy, she becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms.

Now watch the trailer for The Devil Inside below:

While there are several familiar beats in this Devil Inside footage – including a seemingly possessed woman in painful contortionist positions (see: The Last Exorcism) and “jump scares” involving people unnaturally flying through the air (see: any of the Paranormal Activity flicks) – they nonetheless seem fairly well done here. Familiar, for certain, but old tricks aren’t per se bad tricks, when they’re performed correctly.

Director William Brent Bell (Stay Alive) and his Devil Inside co-writer Matthew Peterman are clearly well-versed in the art of the fake documentary, so to speak. What could potentially be a problem for Devil Inside – or, conversely, the aspect that allows it stand out amongst its low-budget peers – is that the film appears to be taking a less subtle or minimalistic approach to scaring people than some of its predecessors (The Blair Witch Project, in particular). Whether that strategy will work or fail is up for debate, right now.

That said – check out the poster for The Devil Inside below:

One last note – if anything looks to make The Devil Inside genuinely freaky, it’s Suzan Crowley’s performance as the bug-eyed, self-mutilating Maria Rossi (ie. Isabella’s mother). There’s a long list of actresses who’ve previously played possessed people onscreen – and Crowley could possibly become one of the standouts.

We’ll see how it all goes down when The Devil Inside arrives in U.S. theaters on January 6th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers