31 Days of Reviews: Demonic (2015)

When cops arrive on scene to investigate a triple homicide, they discover that the house where the murders took place has a dark past, and this past may be coming back to haunt them.

I wasn’t expecting much when I started watching this movie. From the synopsis I was given, I thought it was just going to be another paranormal found footage movie. I’ve seen a lot of those. My interest was piqued during the opening credits.

The opening credit sequence is nothing too special. It’s one of those instances where they tell you the backstory in the opening so they don’t have to explain it again in the plot. I can appreciate that. It was the names in the opening credits that caught my attention.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 8.22.21 PM

Demonic is distributed by Dimension Films (it always makes me happy to see that). It’s produced by James Wan (director of Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring). It stars Maria Bello (Lights Out) and Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Election Year). The cinematography is done by Michael Fimognari (Oculus, The Lazarus Effect, Ouija: Origin of Evil).

For all intents and purposes, this opening title sequence got me really excited. There are so many good names there for a horror movie. I was stoked.

This movie also features Dustin Milligan (The Butterfly Effect 2), Cody Horn (Magic Mike), Scott Mechlowicz (EuroTrip), Megan Park (Diary of the Dead), and Alex Goode. You will also find the wonderful Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, 21, Friday the 13th remake) in this. I’m still hoping for a big comeback for him.

Demonic‘s story isn’t your typical found footage film. It’s a bit more of a traditional film story structure with found footage parts mixed in. If you’re someone who may want to see this movie, but found footage makes you physically ill, there aren’t too many parts that will make you queasy.

Basically, Demonic is the story of some ghost hunters who travel out to a house in Louisiana where a horrific mass murder occurred, let’s say 30 years ago. Their ghost hunt results in the homicide that the police are currently investigating.

The story uses multiple narratives to get the point across. The main story follows the cops who are trying to solve this triple homicide. Where are the missing people? What exactly happened? Most importantly, who did it? The secondary story is where the found footage comes in. The audience gets to see glimpses into the actual ghost hunt and how it all went sour.

I think the story structure is probably the best part of Demonic. The overall story isn’t very original. It’s got its annoying characters that could use more characterization. You could put up a case for why they don’t have more personality. We already know their fates, so why bother making them likable? It definitely would have helped the movie in the end to have a better backstory though. As is, it’s pretty flat. One could wonder how it would have benefitted from James Wan as a director, rather than a producer.

The whole story hinges on the “who done it” question. Who killed all these people? As a viewer, you can just feel the story careening toward a twist ending. It’s obvious. There’s practically no tact about it. The only question is what are they gonna do, and is it going to make sense. I’ll leave that up to you, if you choose to watch this.

Despite having some interesting cinematography, the movie is lacking a lot of tension. I wish the pacing was a bit better and the scares were more atmospheric. It relies heavily on jump scares, and in the end, that doesn’t really cut it. You need more than that to really make the movie stand out.

Even though the characters aren’t that great and the story isn’t the most original, I thought Demonic was a fun time. It certainly kept me engaged. I wish there was a bit more to it, but if you’re perusing through Netflix looking for something a bit fun, you might want to give this one a shot.

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