Why is there evil in the world? If there is an all-powerful God, how can he permit it to happen? And how many times can you exploit that old device of unleashing something scary, revealing the scare to be a false-alarm nothing, and following up with something really scary?
These are the kinds of things that can really trouble a guy in the wee, witching hours. Scott Derrickson’s loose (as in no resemblance at all) adaptation of a NYPD sergeant/demonologist’s 2001 memoir, “Beware the Night,” resolves the first two questions over a couple of drinks in a bar. Real-life character Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), a skeptical, lapsed Catholic and a hard-boiled seen-it-all cop, asks fictitious exorcist/priest Joe Mendoza (Edgar Ramírez) the first couple of questions, illustrating his point of view with vivid examples from his own police experience. Mendoza takes a shot of Jack Daniels and a drag on a cigarette and tells Sarchie, OK, so there’s evil, but how about we talk about good? And then he points out all the N.Y. firefighters in the bar, asking, if there’s no good in the world, how can you explain all these people willing to give up their lives for a stranger?