The devil comes to town this October when Demons, written, directed and starring Miles Doleac, hits theaters and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.
A psychological thriller that marries elements of The Exorcist, The Shining and The Big Chill, Demons tells of a celebrated fiction writer and former priest (Doleac, “American Horror Story”, The Hollow) who, along with his wife, are tormented by the ghost of her late sister, as the details of her grisly death are slowly uncovered.
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), John Schneider (‘’Smallville’’), Lindsay Anne Willams (The Hollow), Steven Brand (Hellraiser : Revelations), Kristina Emerson (“NCIS : New Orleans”), and Gary Grubbs (Free State of Jones) co-star star in a powerful goosebump-stirring new spookfest from Historia Films, the makers of The Hollow and The Historian.
Eight years ago, Father Colin Hampstead oversaw an aborted exorcism that resulted in the gruesome death of seventeen-year-old Jewel Grant, in rural Louisiana. The deceased girl’s older sister, Kayleigh, grew immediately attached to Hampstead and sought him out, at first for grief counseling and then, for much more.
Eight years later, Hampstead has left the priesthood and become a celebrated fiction writer, specializing in stories about the occult, and he and Kayleigh, now his wife, have a beautiful daughter and run a well-known bed and breakfast in Savannah, GA. When the couple agrees to host a wedding for one of Colin’s college friends, what begins as a Big Chill-type reunion turns into something much more macabre, as the seemingly omnipresent ghost of her dead sister Jewel compels Kayleigh to engage in bizarre, destructive behaviors that endanger the lives of both her friends and herself.
Demons is not your typical possession film. No head-spinning, crab-walking, excessive gore or grisly murders to be found. It lulls you into expecting certain things, and then delivers a twist that piques your interest. It does this enough that even though the movie is not exactly breath-taking, you can’t help but pay attention to it. This is a movie focused more on the story itself than the special effects.
Miles Doleac is a sheer pleasure to watch in Demons. I’m not particularly familiar with the man, but he immediately won me over within minutes. Fans of Supernatural will be drawn to Colin’s (Doleac) smooth voice and gentle but strong demeanor. Its also amazing how easily transitioning from clean shaven to a beard transforms the man in terms of apparent age. Good lord. Andrew Divoff (Jasper Grant) and Steven Brand (Eddie) are equally charismastic on screen.
Jessica Harthcock, who stars as Colin’s wife and the deceased’s sister, gives one of the weakest performances in Demons. I think part of this may just be that she doesn’t have as much experience behind her as the other actors. Either that, or she lacks the charisma the others have. Caroline Baggerly, mother to the sisters, is just awkward to watch. Her performance was cringe-worthy at times and definitely ratcheted back the general quality. Luckily, she’s not on screen in Demons that much.
The directing is solid, but not particularly exceptional. However, there is one thing that speaks very strongly in it’s favor. The almost total lack of jump scares. It’s a lovely thing. You will jump a few times during this movie, but not with loud suspenseful music and bangs to make you do so. This is rare enough to make the movie stand out from most of the fare that’s been put forth recently.
The pacing of Demons is good. The cinematography is, like the directing, solid but not outstanding. The special effects make up on one of the characters desperately needed some work. Doleac’s education shows in some of the conversations between the characters. The dialogue is mostly appropriate, occasionally insightful, and on occasion a bit awkward.
Overall, Demons is a movie that’s refreshingly different. It truly is a psychological thriller movie with just enough horror elements for me to want to review it on Sci-Fi & Scary. It’s not perfect, but it’s offbeat and unexpected enough to make me want to tell you to give it a try.
Title: Demons | Release Date: October 6th, 2017 | Coolthulhus Earned: 4 | Disclaimer: I received a copy of this film from October Coast Media for review consideration.