Photo: Courtesy of Screen Gems.
"I definitely believe in ghosts and spirits," Olivia Munn said. The actress is sitting in an eerily cold guest suite at the SLS Hotel while we talk about her new horror movie, Deliver Us From Evil. Naturally the discussion turns immediately toward the otherworldly. Besides her role in the ripped-from-the-headlines flick, Munn has some personal experience with the scary subject matter.
"Things are always happening in my house," she explained. "Just last week, I was sitting in bed, and my front door just opens on its own. I have these sensors that announced 'front door,' and I went to my security footage, and you can see it just open with no one there. That kind of stuff happens a lot." The actress is surprisingly matter-of-fact about this unsettling experience, but her calmness is for good reason. "It used to scare me a lot, until I talked to a medium. She said that they were good spirits, and not to worry."
Viewers of Deliver Us From Evil shouldn't feel as reassured. The movie tells the (true) story of NYPD sergeant Ralph Sarchie (played by Eric Bana), who found himself investigating a case of demonic possession and grizzly murders. Munn plays Bana's wife, Jen, who bears witness to Sarchie's emotional unraveling as the dark world starts to take hold of him.
Skeptics are probably already rolling their eyes, but the sergeant's rehashing of the events is startlingly clear — and the movie is completely terrifying. Even Munn, a self-proclaimed horror-movie enthusiast who loves to be scared, found herself losing sleep. "Getting to see Sarchie's actual footage of the real exorcism he witnessed was the scariest part [of filming]," she said. "That definitely kept me from sleeping for about a week; it's so intense. I'm actually kind of nervous about watching the full movie at the premiere — it's so scary, I'm hoping I don't scream too loud."
When discussing a film of this subject matter, it's easy to turn existential. Throughout Deliver, Bana's character is exposed to evil in its truest forms — possessed children, sacrificial rituals, and all kinds of dark magic. It's easy to dismiss these topics as, well, nonsense, but Munn insists they're worth a deeper look. "I believe that evil does exist in our world," she said thoughtfully. "I think we all have our moments of struggle."
You'll have to see the flick to find out which side wins in Sarchie's tale, but Munn is iron clad in her opinion of the battle. "I like to think that the good is winning overall — sometimes evil has to get really strong and make a statement because it's losing."