Demonic (2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A paint-by-numbers horror film that delivers a knocked-off canvas

30 June 2020

Warning: Spoilers

Ghost hunters visit a house to have a séance, where years previously a séance was held that drove a participant insane, resulted in mass murder. What could go wrong? Well, something does go wrong, and it is up to Detective Mark Lewis (Frank Grillo) and his psychologist girlfriend, Dr Elizabeth Klein (Maria Bello), to figure things out. While Detective Lewis concentrates on piecing the evidence together, psychologist Dr Klein tries to get some answers from one of the post-event survivors.

I found this movie to be decent without being good, I have certainly seen a lot worse. The cast were primarily young adults who were probably supposed to be annoying, in which case they did their jobs well. I wasn’t sold on the detective and the psychologist. I found Grillo’s character to be a bit too angry and aggressive – I’m sure some of his techniques weren’t on the level with how to deal with victims of crime and potential suspects. Likewise, I found the psychologist to do and say things that strictly she shouldn’t be doing in her profession either. They both seemed to be going slightly rogue which in the real world would probably have got them disciplined or dismissed. Certainly not the kind of detective and psychologist that I’d trust in my employment. To recap, the ghost hunting kids were annoying, and the 2 main investigators weren’t likable either… so really I didn’t care what happened or if anyone survived, which isn’t a good way for a film to progress.

When it comes to the plot; it kind of felt like I’d seen this already. Flashbacks to an event, while in real-time the interrogation was taking place, and by the end a twist would reveal that everything wasn’t how it appeared. The scares in this were predictable and unoriginally dull. There were a lot of jump scares added in, lots of darkness, lots of random reveals as the story unfolded…. But it all felt so forced. The best way I can describe this is by saying the film felt empty. I didn’t care for the characters – they were empty, the plot looked like it could have been full of complexity – but it just ended up empty, the horror and thrills could have been good – but ultimately felt empty.

This paint-by-numbers film had spaces for all the right fillers – haunted house, ghosts, shaky cameras, lots of darkness, young ‘hip’ adults, an angry cop…. But like the ghosts that were being hunting, it ended up a soulless canvas. In fact, if this was a paint-by-numbers horror film, it would be one that had been knocked-off (fraudulently copied) – you’ve seen it done before and to a lot higher standard too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/10)

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