Demonic Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by Dimension Films
Directed by Will Canon
Written by Will Canon and Max La Bella
2015, 83 minutes
Frank Grillo as Det. Mark Lewis
Maria Bello as Dr. Elizabeth Klein
Dustin Milligan as John
Cody Horn as Michelle
Scott Mechlowicz as Bryan
The Livingston house was the location of a gruesome murder with a sole survivor. Detective Mark Lewis receives a call at the notorious abandoned house years after the original murders, only to find that a similar situation has taken place, involving an unlikely person.
There is no denying the fact that I am an avid haunted house or possession-related movie fan, regardless if it’s straight to DVD or theatrical. I’ll watch most anything in this sub-genre of horror and more than likely be satisfied. Demonic takes place in the Deep South, Louisiana to be precise, and judging from the locale alone, I know I’m in good hands. As of late, horror movies revolving around this location have been especially good, and this is no exception. See Jessabelle and The Skeleton Key.
A big selling point was that James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) had a hand in producing this. No, he didn’t write any part of it, but the fact that he has his name in the opening credits should warrant a watch from any horror fan. Not only that, Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who plays Det. Lewis, has been turning up in a lot of high profile movies recently, so that added to the intrigue.
When a group of paranormal investigators decide to perform a séance at the notorious Livingston house, things go wrong and they go wrong very quickly. While most of the group is found slaughtered inside, John is the lone survivor who is tasked with explaining himself to both Det. Mark Lewis and Dr. Elizabeth Klein. Most of Demonic is told in the form of flashbacks and the story catches up with real time a bit towards the end.
The greatest thing about Demonic is the way it’s able to mix genres, and a lot of genres does it mix. First there is the cop angle, think of Eric Bana in Deliver us From Evil, all the while throwing in the ghost hunters who are recording via handy-cams, and lastly there is the possession element which I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll stop there.
During one of the handy-cam moments, there is a jump scare that got me like I haven’t been “gotten” in quite some time. It takes a lot to make me jump, but Demonic was able to do it, so that’s saying something. On a side note, I wish horror movies would stop using the “silent room, then all of a sudden loud noise and creepy visual” gag. If something on screen is scary, let it be shown and let the audience react, don’t make us jump with some ridiculous loud noise coinciding with said visual.
The ending was something that should have been generic, but it wasn’t. Some of the traditional possession elements were thrown out the window and replaced with fresh ideas in an otherwise formulaic sub-genre of horror. Of course, there is a twist at the final few moments, but I was glad to see it wasn’t the obvious twist that you will probably assume is coming about halfway into the movie.
On paper, Demonic is likely to be seen as a run-of-the-mill haunted house story with some possession aspects thrown in. Luckily though, that is not the case. There are a certain number of unique plot devices that will keep your attention throughout.