Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Carly Pope, Chris William Martin, Michael J. Rogers, Nathalie Boltt, Terry Chen, and Kandyse McClure
It’s been six years since Neill Blomkamp’s criminally underrated Chappie. After a few announced and shelved projects, including new Alien and Robocop films, Blomkamp has returned with Demonic a horror film with his signature sci-fi twist.
Carly (Carly Pope) hasn’t spoken to her mother in years. An old friend, Martin (Chris William Martin) finds her and tells Carly that her mother has fallen into a coma and been taken to a new facility. He urges her to go and see her, as the facility has been looking for her. Hesitantly, Carly visits her mother and finds that through new advanced technology she can connect with the active parts of her brain to communicate with her mother. It’s through this that Carly discovers that an incident in her past is more complicated than she had previously thought.
At its core Demonic is a standard possession film. It follows a template that is very familiar to most horror fans. If you’ve seen something like Insidious, then there are no real surprises with Demonic. The parts where Carly goes into the dream world with her mother to communicate are really interesting. Sadly, there isn’t enough of this, and the idea isn’t explored enough. Her mother is possessed, and it would have been fascinating and scary to see more of her possessed mind, instead what we get is brief moments that don’t really do anything. The visuals during these sequences are really great, with an unnerving quality. Everything is slightly distorted and creepy.
There is also a moment around half way through the film where Carly’s best friend Sam (Kandyse McClure) visits her at night. It’s a loud and scary moment in the film, with contortion, masks, and a genuine sense of dread. It’s such a great scene, and nothing that comes after lives up to it. It’s the only part of the film that makes you feel like you’re watching a true horror film.
The biggest disappointment about the film is the characters. They’re all bland and uninteresting so you just don’t care what happens to them. Carly is the main character, appearing in almost every moment and we witness the film from her perspective, but by the end she still doesn’t feel like a character. There’s just no development or depth beyond Carly has to be here for there to be a plot.
The rest of the characters feel equally unengaging. Martin, who Carly cut out of her life years before, chastises her for it. He mentions how she cut him out, wouldn’t listen, and called him ‘clinically insane’ because of his fascination with possession and believing there was more behind the incident with Carly’s mother. Carly just apologises, asks him to tell her again, and that’s it, all wounds are healed so the plot can move forward.
All together Demonic is okay. It follows a very similar path that most possession films have before. It has some interesting ideas, that aren’t explored enough. The characters are bland and not developed. There are some creepy and unsettling moments, but it’s never unhinged enough to be truly scary. The film is really not worth seeking out, but if you happen to find it, there are worse films out there.
Signature Entertainment’s Demonic on Digital Platforms 22nd October and Blu-ray & DVD 25th October
Apple TV: https://tv.apple.com/gb/movie/demonic/umc.cmc.6dc8m0mkm85tj4rtb2d58evgo
Amazon DVD: https://amzn.to/3CxeiPn
Amazon Blu-ray: https://amzn.to/3CA5jNw
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