Reviewed by: Max Crawford

"This movie sucks cocks in hell." | Photo: IFC Films

His career may have been on a downward trajectory since District 9, but there's no way Neill Blomkamp made a movie as shitty as Demonic. If he did (and I still haven't quite accepted that he did) there must be something more to it than meets the eye. On the surface it's a generic tale of demonic possession in which worn-out trope after worn-out trope competes to see which can elicit the biggest eye-roll. It's an acceptable parody of the genre until the realisation sets in that no it isn't, the film is just like this and no plot twist or revelation is coming to save it.

It's infuriating. None of the characters are fleshed out enough to care about, leaving the freewheeling mind to ponder such mysteries as "is that the botanist lad out of The Expanse?" (it is!) and "What on earth is Michael J Rogers doing in this garbage?" (absolutely nothing memorable). It's hard to pick out a single facet of the film for the Most Aggravating award, but it might be that there's a secret cadre of Vatican spec ops demon hunters and we never get to see them do anything cool. This is a concept that was better handled by fucking Warrior Nun, a Netflix series with the good grace to realise that it's trash and have a bit of fun with it. Fun is a concept that Demonic seems to have skipped over entirely. This movie sucks cocks in hell.

Copy picture

It has to have some redeeming features, though, doesn't it? Wasn't there some hype around some kind of shiny new CGI VR style gubbins? Well, yes, parts of the film were shot using volumetric capture techniques. Using a special studio with several hundred tiny cameras, scenes were shot in a way that allowed not-quite-photorealistic CGI representations of the characters to exist in some not particularly interesting virtual environments. The end result is reminiscent of the rotoscoping used in A Scanner Darkly only not as good. In terms of a bang:buck ratio, it's about equivalent to a box of Tesco Value Christmas Crackers that cost 18 million pounds.

This sort of squandered effort, or resources being poured down a particularly stinky drain, is somewhat emblematic of Demonic as a whole. It feels like it took a lot off effort to make, and precisely none of that graft managed to translate to the finished product. It's an extremely relatable sensation to watch obviously talented people give something their all for no discernible outcome, and it's more than a little depressing.

Demonic is a Neill Blomkamp film. We're just going to have to accept that perhaps that doesn't mean what we would like it to mean.

Reviewed on: 29 Aug 2021
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Demonic packshot
A young woman unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed.
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Director: Neill Blomkamp

Writer: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Carly Pope, Terry Chen, Chris William Martin, Nathalie Boltt, Michael J Rogers, Andrea Agur

Year: 2021

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada


Frightfest 2021

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