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Review: convoluted plot and outdated acting leaves demonic with nothing but lame fears

By on August 21, 2021 0

At some point in the past decade, tying Neill Blomkamp to a sci-fi horror film indicated some level of potential for the final product. The filmmaker hit hard with District 9 in 2009, but then planted hard with 2015 Chappie (a rare failure for a Dev Patel as well, who thankfully has moved on to more impressive projects since) and apparently hasn’t quite recovered. His last, Demonic, which he both wrote and directed, is perhaps one of the most lousy excuses for a horror movie in recent memory, an effort so poorly constructed that it barely stands and so poorly. played that it might as well be a college thesis film.


Image courtesy of IFC Films

Within the first ten minutes of Demonic, protagonist Carly (Carly Pope, in a performance so bland it’s practically cardboard) is tied up in a hospital bed with a device on her head that’s supposed to transport her to some sort of alternate virtual reality where she can. communicate with her mother in a coma, Angela (Nathalie Boltt). This sounds like a good premise for a sci-fi thriller, but the fact that the previous ten minutes do next to nothing to convince us, let alone Carly herself, that it’s a good idea … and yet she is doing it In any event… Does not bode well for the rest of the film. Apparently all it takes for Carly to undergo a questionable medical procedure by doctors she just met is an old friend, Martin (Chris Martin) reappearing in her life with an update on her mother from longtime, a woman who apparently went mad killed a lot of people and was then put in jail for the rest of her life.

The men who convinced Carly to go bankrupt present themselves as doctors developing new technology to get into the minds of people with something called LIS or Locked-In Syndrome (which, for the sake of journalistic integrity, I can confirm it’s real), but something doesn’t quite match. Once she is in Angela’s consciousness, Carly finds her mother like a shell of a person, insisting that she did not ask her to come, as the medics have said. Instead, she insists that someone else – something else – is the cause of Angela’s violent path and mental illnesses. Martin isn’t so sure either, taking the film on one of its many oddly sharp left turns, introducing the idea of ​​demons as interpreted by the Catholic Church and the Secret Force of Priests Sent. like soldiers to fight them.

I mean OK.

As Carly sinks deeper and deeper into her mother’s mind, discovering memories she has long put behind her, the demon (s) wreaking havoc on Angela seem to be coming for her, too. Here, Blomkamp finally manages to muster some of the fears he was previously capable of, as Carly’s best friend transforms into a twisted and screaming terror or hallucinations and reality blend together until Carly can barely make up the point. difference. These scares are fleeting, however, bordering on comedy when viewed against the backdrop of such a convoluted and ridiculous story. And in the end, none of that is enough to save this mess, a movie that feels like it was written on the back of an index card and tinkered with scotch tape and construction paper. Horror film finalists might find a reason to watch this latest offering from a declining filmmaker, but anyone else has plenty of other options to scare them off at a movie night.

Demonic now plays in theaters and on demand.

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