So Demonic is a film you could live a happy life having never seen. It’s a very ‘by the numbers’ horror movie that only had probably one good scare but a lot of creepiness. The last poor performing horror film I saw was David Prior’s The Empty Man but unfortunately Demonic doesn’t hit the same highs.
Demonic does have an interesting concept though. It marries classic Christian supernatural mythology with high-tech, modern science fiction. It’s certainly not a bad idea for a film. However, it never fully delivers on its pitch. Demonic felt very basic, like it was just trying to hit the expected horror beats and not much else.
There is a caveat to all this though.
This movie was filmed during the pandemic. Which honestly explains a lot about this movie. I really like director Neil Blomkamp’s other films. I’m a very big and proud Chappie fan and loved District 9 and liked Elysium. Blomkamp was slated to make a different movie before covid hit and logline for that film sounds much more in line with his style.
Demonic was a movie conceived, micro-funded and made during this pandemic. So the fact that it exists at all is kind of a miracle. And this explains its weaknesses. It feels by the numbers because in order to achieve making a feature under such restrictions Blomkamp and crew worked by the numbers.
And they did produce a very competent film. The cinematography is great. The film looks very crisp and for a horror film it was nice that the picture was so bright. Demonic features a small cast but I felt like they all did good jobs. Kandyce McClure was particularly freaky in one scene.
So with caveats I can actually find a lot to appreciate about Demonic. Given the constraints and the achievement of making a feature, during a pandemic no less, Demonic deserves admiration. But to see this film as a product, that someone will pay money for, there’s just better options out there.
This didn’t feel like one of Blomkamp’s outstanding trilogy of previous films. Those film’s had this raw charm. They felt loose; and cool; and dangerous. The careful planning required to make Demonic meant that it lost that charm. Which sucks.
I’m still going to keep turning up for Neil Blomkamp movies. But for the normal person, who is watching this because it’s a product and not a particular persons movie, I can’t recommend it. If you’re interested in the filmmaker or just pandemic-made movies then I think there’s quite a few interesting things here. I’d love to know the exact figure of the production budget so I could appreciate it even more.
A pandemic-made film that suffers from those limitations:
By Benjamin Boekelaar