You know sometimes the devil is really in the details…
While Demonic which is in theatres and available on PVOD today isn’t exactly touching on any new ground in the world of demonic possession storytelling, it rises above the pack thanks to some subtle little twists inside a well worn genre.
A young woman (Carly Pope) unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades old rift between mother and daughter are revealed.
We’ve got to admit that the thing we really like about Demonic is that probably not everyone is going to like it, but it’s blending of some science fiction tropes inside the horror genre make for an efficient and effective ride.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of film that we expect from writer/director Neill Blomkamp given his previous works playing the realm of high concept science fiction but we’d be wrong.
Working on the cheap compared to previous films, Blomkamp isn’t afraid to give us a vision for this story that is just dark and even a little dirty as we get into the muck of a family feud that actually turns out to be so very much more.
By bathing this film in an overwhelming sense of darkness in combination with the technique of volumetric capture which actually takes up about 15-20 minutes of the entire movie, we get transported into an ethereal plain. We’re not just being told that we’re seeing something play out in someone’s subconscious; it feels like we’re actually there.
Blomkamp has a great sense of timing from beginning to end as the film never once feels like it’s getting bogged down in exposition and is focused on giving us the nitty gritty inside this demonic possession story. While he ultimately plays to the formula of it all pretty effortlessly, the not so subtle science-fiction twists that get added into this make the film feel fresh and occasionally even unexpected. He deftly used light and shadows to his advantage and rather then make any kind of big special effects kind of reveal; he kept the mystery and the demon in the darkness, which worked in making it all that much scarier.
Being well versed in cinema history, Blomkamp knew there was one element that he had to nail if he was going to be accepted in genre and that was casting the right ‘final girl’ which he did here with Carly Pope.
Pope truly brings a no nonsense attitude the films proceedings even as she is getting further and further down the rabbit hole with these doctors (played by Michael J Rogers and Terry Chen) who are not what they seen. Pope didn’t want to necessarily be reunited with her mother as the events of the past have haunted her and formed who she became as a person, but comes to the ultimate realization that she needs to but the past behind her which has now manifested into this demon in order to move on with her life. She embodies the ‘final girl’ moxie and attitude perfectly which is what the film needed.
Chris William Martin rounds out the ensemble as the ‘best friend’ who helps Carly Pope’s character stare down this unspeakable evil. Everyone here in this film had a real sense of the roles they were to play and pulled them all off to perfection.
Ultimately, Demonic doesn’t do exactly what is expected of it…but that’s what actually makes it kind of special at the same time. It’s familiar as it explore the ideas behind a demonic possession story, but lets us get to a conclusion in an entire fun and entertaining way.