Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008)

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Critic Consensus: This political documentary about protests during the Liberian Civil War is an uplifting celebration of the capacity of everyday people to affect great change.

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"Pray the Devil Back to Hell" is the gripping account of a group of brave women who demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn to shreds by a decades-long civil war. The women's historic achievement finds its voice in a narrative that intersperses interviews, archival images, and scenes of present-day Liberia together to recount the memories of a few of the women who were there. In 2003, Liberia was a country devastated by decades of political dislocation, humanitarian crisis, and street-to-street urban warfare. Charles Taylor, then President of Liberia, had emptied the country's pockets as creatively as any dictator in memory. His ascent to power led to the deaths of thousands of people and a nation in complete ruin. Out of the wreckage, more than 2000 Christian and Muslim women throughout the country began to organize and banded together in an effort to bring an end to the fighting. At great person risk, they protested creatively and persistently for peace in the worst days of brutal and protracted civil conflict.

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Critic Reviews for Pray the Devil Back to Hell

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (17)

An object lesson in interfaith cooperation and an instructional manual for people committed to making systemic political change through nonviolent means.

Full Review… | February 27, 2009
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The film is brief and not especially creative in its storytelling, but nonetheless unforgettable; this remarkable story deserved to be captured on film.

February 5, 2009
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This illuminating film by director Gini Reticker and producer Abigail Disney is a much-needed attempt to put the spotlight on a moment of history that still inspires.

Full Review… | December 12, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A modest but effective work of documentary uplift.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is at once inspiring and horrific.

Full Review… | November 26, 2008
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Pray the Devil uses its brief 72 minutes to tell one of the truly heartening international political stories of recent years.

Full Review… | November 14, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pray the Devil Back to Hell

½

A very powerful and interesting part of history that was deeply moving. The movies follows those who take an amazing risk for peace in Liberia. The movie has some powerful and raw footage that follows an authentic narrative in history. The movie paints a sharp perspective on injustice and those who stand up against it. The documentary has key interviews and historic footage. I was drawn in all the way to the end. This movie was fascinating and inspiring.

craig downing
craig downing
½

No, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" is not the title of Wes Craven's latest film. Rather, it is a documentary where the horrors are all too real in the brutal Liberian Civil War, started in 1989 to oust tyrannical President Charles Taylor by force. Both sides commit atrocities which include the raping of women and conscripting of child soldiers. Tired of suffering and watching their children die of malnutrition, in 2003 the women of Liberia organize the Christian Women's Peace Initiative, joining with Muslim women in a momentous display of unity. They practice peaceful protests to get the attention of Taylor. After that, the women deploy their own nuclear option, a sex strike to further get the attention of the men who they feel are guilty by either commission or omission. These actions eventually lead to Taylor going into exile and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected as president in Africa. In the end, while the documentary may occasionally lose its focus, it never loses its power in showing a bad peace can be better than a war.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a heart-breaker, but quite inspirational as the women of Liberia fight for peace for an entire nation. The documentary tracks the horrid violence of the country as children fire machine guns aimlessly and the government abuses its power to a whole new level. The women come together regardless of their background and unite for a common struggle in which peace is the only acceptable result. The footage is shocking along with the insightful interviews. The lengths these women go make this a true revolution.

Eduardo Baskervill
Eduardo Baskervill

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