In parts, the morbid mood Deliver Us aimed for hits just the right spot, and you’re left with the feeling that they knew exactly what they were doing. Then there are the perplexing terrains in this temperamental indie where you’re dropped without a compass. What the ambitious team of Lee Roy Kunz and Cru Ennis has achieved with this part-English, part-Russian, and part-Estonian horror is pulling you into an experience to remember. The goal, seemingly, was to give the audience no option but to willfully surrender to this wholly erratic world. A world where each significant turn promises just as much grotesque pleasure as it does dread. It makes all the sense in the world to have the sickening spasms of pregnancy horror chased by hellhounds of religious horror. And to add priests to the mix with no exorcism in sight? Now, that’s what I call bold. It must’ve been a pretty convoluted ride following the runaway nun and her trusted priest through the gloomy grays. Let me try to make it a little easier for you to find your way through the maze.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Deliver Us quickly sets the tone for the terror to follow in the cold open itself. For someone who’d sit through even the vapidest horror if it promised a high gore quotient, it simply doesn’t get better than an opening sequence drenched in the blood of the sacrificial messengers of a prophecy. There’s a valid reason behind the trembling breaths and petrified gasps. A machete wielded by an unnamed hand beheads the priests, and the one whose turn is to come shivers as the deceased’s blood reddens his face. Headless bodies with scripture scribbled on them are flayed at the order of the one-eyed Father Saul. But how is Sister Yulia, in her quiet room at a Russian convent, being tormented by the visions of this murderous rampage? Judging by the state of the nun, who’s suddenly washed over by a sensation oscillating between euphoria and pain, something sinister is afoot. The statue of Mother Mary foretells the stigmata that’s to appear on the poor nun, with tears running down her stony cheeks. The Vatican isn’t about to sit on their hands when Yulia claims she’s immaculately conceived twins with psychic abilities. To look into the matter with Cardinal Russo by his side, the Vatican has ordered Father Fox’s presence at the Russian convent.
Does Father Fox Believe Sister Yulia’s Claims?
While the Russian bishop, with an unswerving faith in Father Fox’s priestly abilities, is undogmatic enough to justify the priest breaking his celibacy, Father Fox is seemingly disenchanted with the life of priesthood. The reason behind him being increasingly detached from that lifestyle is his love for his Estonian girlfriend, Laura, who’s pregnant with his child. The endearing sense of purpose he’s found at the prospect of being a father and a husband has surpassed his urge to serve God. But Laura is more selfless than you’d expect from a character such as hers. Instead of holding him back, she nudges him to choose the righteous path and help out the poor nun in question. And even though it takes Father Fox a while to wrap his head around the eerie phenomena taking place at the gloomy convent, he’s steadily getting closer to accepting the unfathomable the longer he stays there, amidst the nuns and their secrets. Initially, he’s of the notion that Sister Yulia has heard whispers of his success with the troubled little girl in Murmansk and, therefore, asked for his help. But there’s something about Yulia that is incontestable, as she claims that it wasn’t her but her unborn psychic twins who called for Fox’s assistance. Try as he might to hold on to his rational side of mind, Fox can’t help but be baffled by the fact that Yulia has somehow learned to speak English in a matter of days to communicate with him. It’s quite a heavy burden for him to bear when he’s rattled by the vision of the terrifying birth of the twins in the cross-shaped, half-frozen lake.
What Is The Prophecy About Sister Yulia’s Twins?
The bell of something sketchy going down was rung the moment we saw that the Vatican didn’t just send the young priest and the Cardinal to assess the situation; they also extended the invitation to the murderous Father Saul. Photographs of the flayed skin that bore the scriptures of an ancient prophecy now grace Cardinal Russo’s table as he wracks his brain trying to make head or tail of the language. It’s with Father Fox’s assistance, the man with extensive knowledge of the ancient tongue, that they even scratch the surface of the prophecy. The Zoroastrian scripture that they are able to loosely translate foretells a complex divine occurrence that, freakily enough, matches the pregnant nun’s current circumstances. The Zoroastrians, the devotees of one of the world’s oldest monotheistic faiths, strongly believed that there’d come a time when a woman of God would bear twins—one would be the Messiah and a personification of Christ, and another would be the conduit of the vicious Antichrist. The peculiar parallels between pre-Christian scripture and the bizarre circumstances they’ve found themselves in are enough to light a fire under Cardinal Russo. And he’s not about to wait for the skeptic in Father Fox to transcend the bounds of his worldly rationale to take action.
Why Are Father Fox, Sister Yulia, And Cardinal Russo On The Run?
For a man of God, someone who’s spent the better part of his life serving an institution that is supposed to uphold morality and kindness above all, it’s not an easy thing to speculate that the Vatican could do any wrong. Even though Father Saul’s menacing air hasn’t eluded Father Fox, the latter doesn’t immediately perceive the former as a threat. It’s when Fox is startled by a scream coming from Yulia’s room and catches Father Saul and the Cardinal red-handedly plotting to abort the twins that his eyes are opened to the urgency of the situation. For the Vatican and the extremists at Vox Dei, it was never about merely observing the situation. They’d unleashed their rabid guard dog, Father Saul, to put an end to the prophecy, no matter the cost. Considering they’d need to kill both babies to ensure that the harbinger of doom doesn’t accidentally survive, the Cardinal wasn’t totally on board with the plan. But it wasn’t until he saw the stabbed Father Fox that he truly reflected on the sin he was about to commit. As they make their way out of the convent in a panic with Father Saul’s terrifying shadow on their tail, the only person Fox knows he can turn to in such a time of crisis is Laura. With Yulia going into labor en route to Estonia, the evil twin’s psychic prowess already grows tenfold as it terrifies both Yulia and Fox with a dream of a man brutalizing himself. At least, with the babies being born safe and sound, the trio gets a moment of respite from the acute anxiety.
How Does Father Fox Come Back to Life?
Tackling a whole array of plot points when the central narrative itself is daunting enough to demand undivided attention mustn’t have been an easy job for the makers of Deliver Us. And thankfully, they never lost sight of the fact that tying it all up into one cohesive source of intrigue was the way to go. It’s practically shocking how, despite joining in as an active part of the central narrative rather late, Laura blends in seamlessly. And with her, she brings another layer of enigmatic tension that keeps you longing to know more. Thanks to the lavish estate that belonged to Laura’s grandfather, Father Fox, Cardinal Russo, Sister Yulia, and her twins now have a safe place away from the homicidal grasp of the Vatican. From the looks of the creepy paintings and the abundance of traps and hunting gear in the house and scattered around the surrounding forest, Laura’s grandfather took his doomsday prep quite seriously. Although it’s more strongly implied than blurted out, he’d met death at his own hands. At least Yulia and Cardinal Russo are over the moon to have a comfortable place to rest.
Deliver Us has been rather blatant about the tension between Yulia and Fox that’s only been growing the longer they’re around each other. While Laura isn’t blind to it, the lack of conceivable insecurity she’s supposed to be feeling about her relationship is a testament to the fact that she knows this isn’t an ordinary circumstance. Even Fox himself doesn’t seem to be a man who’d willingly betray his partner and aid in Yulia’s vows being desecrated. All of this only goes to show that Yulia’s understanding of her psychic newborns’ ulterior plan was right. They’re the ones manipulating the tides of convoluted emotions flowing within their mother and the priest they plan to have as their father. The infants even go as far as to puppeteer their subconscious and try to entice them with the same, extremely suggestive dream involving each other. But playing Cupid between Yulia and Fox isn’t all that their supernatural propensities are limited to.
Albeit rather obliquely, Deliver Us does arrange quite a bouquet of world-changing events that can be attributed to the twins. With news of extreme changes in oceanic tides worldwide that have even affected the moon’s movements, we are told that the two infants, one good and one evil, hold just that much power. But the most wicked scheme the Satanic one of the two has chalked up with a long game on his mind is the plague-like situation that’s been ravaging Estonia. Unable to make sense of the extreme symptoms of the mysterious disease that range from nausea to absolute psychosis, the people of Estonia have pounced on Laura, the heir to the Kuusik family’s mines in Kose. She’s hounded by rabid protestors even though she’s had the water tested and has assured the Estonian people that it’s free of contaminants. Seeing that the somewhat grown manifestation of the evil twin was present at the site to oversee Laura being shot to death by an angry protestor, I can only assume that it was part of his plan to get Laura and her unborn child out of the way. It was perhaps a vision of her own death communicated by the baby as she was holding him that made Laura break into tears hours before her time was to come.
The extent of psychic manipulation the evil twin is capable of materializes in the most gruesome and heartbreaking way when Cardinal Russo is torn apart by wolves to pay for his disobedience. It’s only natural that the one who is the medium of the Antichrist wants the other one wiped from the face of the earth. He even goes as far as to offer unimaginable power and fame to the one who’d follow his command and kill his brother. It’s this very manipulation that Father Saul is swayed by when he locates the infants and attempts to kill the godly one before being shot to death by Yulia. It’s practically impossible for a mother to choose between her two children. And even though she’s despondently aware of the fact that one of them might bring the world to its end someday, she can’t possibly bring herself to kill her own child.
But one thing is certain: Despite the consequential parts of the prophecy taking place in the present, it has been expected for much longer. The reason behind Laura’s grandfather’s suicide may be unknown to us, but judging by the paintings he’d made depicting Yulia, Fox, and the twins as a family, he had been privy to what would be going on in his cabin long after he would be gone. The end-of-the-world scenario he was prepping for may just be on the cards as the evil twin grows up and brings forth doomsday. Ever since the harrowing night of conceiving the twins, Yulia has only prioritized her babies’ well-being. It is because they need Yulia and Fox to be together that she even entertains the prospect. And when a grief-stricken Fox loses his mind and is possessed by the evil twin’s voice guiding his violent escapade, Yulia has no choice but to shoot him dead in the ending sequence.
But Father Fox’s death doesn’t fit into the plan the twins have concocted. You may remember that the wound on his stomach was magically healed before. And now that you’ve seen his death being reversed, you know that the twins aren’t letting their chosen father go anywhere. At the end of Deliver Us, Sister Yulia and Father Fox have been compelled by ancient prophecy to raise the human embodiment of Christ and the conduit of evil. How these two handle their extreme differences will be up to them when they come of age. Until then, Yulia and Fox will have to play the roles of devoted spouses and loving parents, whether they want to or not.