Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Film Review: Demonic (2015)

Demonic (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's difficult to even call it a horror movie due to its lack of horror."

A police officer and a psychologist investigate the death of several ghost hunters at a supposedly haunted house...

Demonic is a generic horror film. The plot follows a cliché group of douchebags characters: John (Dustin Milligan), a young man who believes his mother is calling him to a haunted house; Michelle, John's girlfriend; Brian, Michelle's ex-boyfriend and fellow ghost hunter; Sam, a ghost hunter; Jules, the cult specialist; and Donnie, the tech guy. From the beginning, we know most of this group dies at the house after performing a séance because Detective Mark Lewis (Frank Grillo) discovers their bodies. The only survivor is John, so Lewis calls the department's psychologist, Elizabeth Klein (Maria Bello), to question him. So, the film frequently jumps between these interlaced stories: the séance and the police investigation. It's not confusing, and it's not interesting, either. It leads to an interesting ending, though, but it just doesn't resonate.

Demonic is not a poorly-made film. It has some decent production values. The editing and storytelling were also good, which is important since this isn't a linear film. On the other hand, the plot is painfully generic. It offers very little to the haunted house subgenre of horror. You've seen this story before, one way or another. Worst of all, Demonic just isn't frightening. It's completely lacking in the suspense department. It doesn't even have a semblance of suspense—you know, like those long, dull moments where nothing happens that often gets mistaken as suspense? The "horror" is completely reliant on jump-scares. I will admit: one jump scare caught me off guard. Otherwise, the rest of the film was dull and forgettable.

The acting was mostly decent. Frank Grillo played the detective well. Aside from some bad overacting towards the end, Maria Bello was also good. Dustin Milligan is also guilty of overacting during the investigation segments, but he fares better during the ghost hunting sections. Their bland, unlikeable characters don't help them, either. The film was shot well. I don't remember the music. The screenplay was written by Max La Bella, Doug Simon, and Will Canon; Canon also directs. Although the film was competently-made, the writing and direction are disappointing. The writing is safe and boring while the direction fails to conjure any significant frights.

Overall, Demonic is a disappointing horror movie. It's difficult to even call it a horror movie due to its lack of horror. It's not atmospheric, eerie, or even exciting. It's not a poorly-made film, but it's not a good movie, either. Considering the film's marketing heavily leans on James Wan's name, many will be disappointed by the quality of this film. This is not The Conjuring or Insidious. It's just another haunted house flick.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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