Deliver Us from Evil

Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. Brilliant and psychologically transfixing documentary.
  2. Most powerfully, Berg also films a number of O'Grady's victims as they recount their trauma and, in some cases, loss of faith.
  3. Courageous, shattering and exceptional documentary.
  4. A heartbreaking look at broken trust.
  5. As a study of a predator, "Evil" is fascinating and enraging.
  6. 90
    Neither sensationalistic nor sentimental, Ms. Berg’s film is clear-sighted, tough-minded and devastating, a portrait of individual criminality and institutional indifference, a study in the betrayal of trust and the irresponsibility of authority.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    90
    Not one of your pass-the-popcorn date movies. It's a howl of rage.
  8. 90
    The outrages of pedophile priests have generated screaming headlines but relatively little understanding of the Catholic culture that permitted and concealed such crimes, which makes this informed documentary by Amy Berg all the more valuable.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Deliver Us From Evil is so horrifying it makes "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" look like a walk in the park.
  10. 88
    The most infuriating revelation in Amy Berg's powerful documentary is the lengths to which current Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney and other church officials went to protect Father O'Grady and themselves, even though it meant knowingly delivering countless other children into a child molester's hands.
  11. 88
    This superb documentary about the Catholic Church's worst pedophile scandal is in many ways far scarier than any fiction.
  12. Amy Berg's riveting documentary, tracks O'Grady's predatory trail from San Andreas, Calif., to Ireland, where he is now living on a church pension that was apparently meant to buy his silence.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    It isn't often you get to meet the devil in all his glory, but here he is in Deliver Us From Evil, and his name is Father Oliver O'Grady.
  14. 88
    With Deliver Us from Evil, Berg has been uncompromising in the picture she paints. She pulls no punches and makes no apologies.
  15. Another angry, searching document about pedophile priests, Deliver Us from Evil makes for unexpectedly gripping drama.
  16. Deliver Us From Evil has a few things wrong with it, including an egregious musical score, but without resorting to sucker punches, it takes your breath away while making your skin crawl.
  17. With an immediacy and intimacy that news reports can't provide, this deeply affecting documentary explores the pedophile crisis that has shaken the edifice of the Catholic Church.
  18. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    80
    So harsh and damning is the pic toward the current Catholic leadership -- personified by Los Angeles-based Cardinal Roger Mahony, who oversaw O'Grady's stewardship at various central California parishes in the 1970s and '80s, that charges the church operates "like the Mafia" sound spot-on.
  19. 80
    Berg by no means excuses Father O'Grady, but she offers evidence of a devastating childhood that explains his pathology. For the ambitious creeps who allowed him to indulge it, and who still sit in office, there's no excuse.
  20. 75
    When victims and their families talk about having their lives wrecked by a sexually abusive priest in the forceful documentary Deliver Us From Evil, that destruction is as much spiritual as psychological.
  21. The spellbinding power of this almost certain Oscar nominee for best documentary comes from its chilling subject matter.
  22. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    70
    Deliver Us From Evil has its flaws. Certain passages are diffuse, others are argumentative, and there's a discomfiting staginess to the climax... Yet the film's concern for the victims, and their families, is one of its strengths.
  23. Works best when it concentrates on O'Grady and the ever-rippling effect of his transgressions. Viewers may not remember the victims whose stories practically pierce the heart, but they're unlikely to forget O'Grady's deceptively innocent face.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    The spellbinding power of this Oscar nominee for best documentary comes from its chilling subject matter, a notorious pedophile priest and theThe spellbinding power of this Oscar nominee for best documentary comes from its chilling subject matter, a notorious pedophile priest and the cover-up of his heinous acts by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the state of California. Director Amy Berg's documentary is clear-sighted and tough-minded a portrait of individual criminality and institutional indifference. A study in the betrayal of trust, and the irresponsibility of authority. In addition to giving faces and voices to victims who are often anonymous, it offers an interview with a convicted ex-priest who admits his crimes without remorse. "Deliver Us from Evil" presents three case studies of Father O'Grady's abuse. Simply put, jaw-dropping.

    In the 1970s and 80s, Father O'Grady was serving as a parish priest in several towns in Central California, where he molested children over and over again, both boys and girls, including, a 9-month-old. Filmmaker Amy Berg masterfully exposes just how deeply rooted the corruption runs. Armed with anguished testimony from the families of the abused and their lawyers, she seamlessly presents indisputable evidence that the Church knew about O'Grady's activities. The hierarchy moved him from one parish to another, simply to avoid public scandal, and to prevent destroying the careers of those in power.

    Present day and walking around the streets of Dublin, O'Grady peers into a schoolyard with an interest that can only appear perverse after what's been revealed about him. He seems so removed from his crimes that he could be an actor playing the part of a pedophile ex-priest. That he agreed to appear in "Deliver Us From Evil," is an indication not just of an oversized ego, but also a complete failure to comprehend of what he has actually done. Father O'Grady walks freely today in Ireland, not even registered as a sex offender. "Deliver Us From Evil" has already prompted legal attention in Los Angeles toward Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who allowed more than 550 priests under his jurisdiction to molest children without punishment.

    Watching this documentary, and especially the interviews with O'Grady, is so much more disturbing than any piece of fiction could ever be. This is a real monster victimizing children, and it was allowed by a group that was claiming to do God's work.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 14, 2012
    10
    It is more powerful and haunting then any horror film. More suspenseful then a thriller. More thought provoking then an art film. It is simplyIt is more powerful and haunting then any horror film. More suspenseful then a thriller. More thought provoking then an art film. It is simply amazingly powerful. It ranks with the best documentarys of all time. Every person in the catholic church should watch this film and act on it Full Review »
  3. Bill
    Jun 8, 2009
    9
    This is often an extremely difficult film to watch, especially if (like me) you're a parent. After years of reading about clergy sexual This is often an extremely difficult film to watch, especially if (like me) you're a parent. After years of reading about clergy sexual abuse in the church I expected mainly to be appalled by the bottomless narcissism of the central figure, Oliver O'Grady. And I was. However, the institutional evil that saturates the hierarchy all the way to the top of the Vatican seems an order of magnitude more chilling. Deposition footage of the Bishop of the Diocese of L.A. and a Monsignor there makes one believe he is looking at Satan incarnate. I did not sleep well after watching this. A very important documentary for everyone to see. It's perhaps the best horror film made in years. Full Review »