I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone left in any of the major Hollywood film studios that actually understands horror, or if they just have a big black book full of "How to make and what to put into horror films" that they use to make dull and lifeless standardised films like Demonic. The fact that it comes from the James Wan studio should have been a hint that it wasn't going to be a great film, but I never expected it to be this bad...
Here is the quick plot summary it's quick as there is not really that much to it. Bunch of friends decide to do a seance, folk get killed, one survives and gets caught by the local police, and in an attempt to understand what happened decide to go back to the house to investigate. Bad things happen again.
Demonic is the sort of film that people will cite when they proclaim that horror is dead, it is a dull lifeless film devoid of all sense of fear or suspense, characters who are so cardboard like, I half expected UPS to appear and borrow one of them as a shipping crate for a much better film.
So where did this film go so wrong? The biggest fault of this film is the total lack of imagination, there is nothing new here, every shock that the film tries to delivery is either signalled by the soundtrack quietening ready for the big boom of the jump scare.
When will filmmakers understand that this doesn't actually scare anyone, they are just reacting to the load bang and not to any sense of dread or foreboding that you put into the film. Every shock, bar one was signalled in this film, there is one scene involving a mirror and the classic look away / look back at the mirror that played out differently to how I thought it was, but by this point you will be so bored of it all you just won't care. Faces appear from nowhere, doors slam shut, things appear on security cameras. And don't forget about cats. I wish filmmakers would realise that thanks to that zombie episode of Community, that cats are no longer valid in horror films. Unless they were literally trying to through a cat among the pigeons?
You see Birds play a large role in the film, many of the supernatural occurrences are preceded by their appearance, and in a few cases they are part of the occurrence, which is rather apt as this is one bird brain of a film.
It might be my conception of the city brought upon by Hollywood and fiction, but when you set a film in Louisiana I expect a film full of sweaty cops, sultry seductresses, voodoo and all manner Southern Gothic cliches. Why they even bothered to say the film was set here I don't know. They may as well have set the film in Dalkeith, such is the impact it has to the film.
I'm always amazed at just quickly law enforcement officers are to come around to the idea that there may be some supernatural element to crime most films have a small segment where the investigating officer needs some convincing. In this film I get the impression that Frank Grillo's character once applied for a position in Ghostbusters such is ability to with the flow.
The most worrying thing about his film is its ending, and I'll give them this I never saw the twist coming by this point you will be bored and annoyed by this film you just won't care, as the twist sets us up for a sequel. You have just got to love James Wan he does love a franchise. Maybe we should start calling him James Wan, Two, Three, Four.
Demonic is the most deadly dull, and derivative film I have had the mispleasure of watching in a long long time. Do yourself a favour go and watch The Haunting of Deborah Logan instead a much better film about possession.