Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Will Canon
Cast: Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, Dustin Milligan
There’s a little voice in the back of my head. It sounds rather distant, but it echoes in my corridors all the same. You shouldn’t have watched this movie, directly after watching the House on Pine Street, it bellows. That voice is right, I shouldn’t have; Demonic didn’t have the hint of a fair shake at shining… not following that perplexingly brilliant film. No way.
Don’t be fooled by that opinion, as Demonic isn’t a complete failure. It’s a well-shot picture with some terrific atmosphere and a few inspired performances (Frank Grillo stands out, which is a surprise as his material is a little limited). The story however isn’t something we can tip toe around casually. It’s got a lot of problems and leans on a good number of clichés to generate frightening moments.
The story unravels on two separate timelines. On one timeline we follow a half-dozen amateur “ghost hunters” who decide to kick off a séance in an old haunted house. The other half of the story follows the police crew on a mission to solve a nasty multiple homicide case. Eventually the two ideas merge into one, which leaves our heroic lawmen looking in the eyes of a cold blooded killer.
As you can ascertain from that breakdown, Will Canon’s film just doesn’t do anything new, in any way. It’s also unbelievably predictable. Don’t be stunned when the credits roll and your 20-minute prediction is spot on. And that’s one of the biggest problems with the film. If you know precisely how it all ends minutes after it’s gotten started, something went wrong. Something went wrong with Demonic… really wrong.
But the flick’s problems aren’t limited exclusively to story or predictability. There isn’t a single quality scare in the 83 minute run time. What’s worse, the few attempts at scares are poorly executed jump sequences. They just feel cheap and lazy. And just like the movie’s twist, you’ll see them coming from far off.
Demonic looks good on the surface. But the surface is only the surface, and in this case the insides are hollow and depressing, devoid of imagination or any detectable run at originality. The film has a wealth of potential, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone attached to the production eager to turn potential into something quite rewarding. The biggest shame may be the attachment of James Wan, who for reasons unknown, produced the flick.