Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans documents the most authenticated case of possession in American history.
View at Your Own Risk
Release Year: 2018 | Runtime: 1hr 51min | Genre: Horror Documentary | Source: Amazon Prime | Country: USA | Rating: 1 out of 5
Demon House Review
I used to watch Ghost Adventures when it was on Netflix. I had no idea that it has lasted as long as it did. I always liked it because they went a bit more into the history of places more than other shows (I suspect it was because it was on the Travel Channel). And watching them run around in the dark yelling at ghosts and tripping over stuff was fun.
So I was naturally intrigued when I saw there was a documentary of Zak buying the most haunted house of ever! I never imagined “the most authenticated haunted house” could be so boring. A place so e-vil that it drove one family out and (allegedly) adversely affected the health of Zak Bagans and Barry Taff. But yes, it was boring.
We sat through an hour and twenty minutes of statements from the family, reenactments, and a quick trip through the house and the shrine under the stairs. The family’s story is all over the place, they contradict themselves multiple times and it bounces around quite a lot throughout the movie’s runtime. Like five minutes here, a shot of socks and items under the stairs (how could socks fall through an open stair, must be ghosts!) then back to the family, a vague threat by an unnamed studio exec, back to the family, etc. You get the picture. It wasn’t very coherent.
Much of the time is spent tracking people down only to be told that they didn’t want to speak to the crew. Another witness who “happened to be passing by” was chatty after some bills changed hands (to give it a little credit they didn’t hide it). The family stopped talking to Zak after he was vaguely threatened over the phone that his studio had purchased the rights and he didn’t want Zak ‘stealing’ it.
Then finally, finally we get to the house and the ghostly shenanigans we were promised in the synopsis. While in the cellar Zak “became enraged” and lightly lunged at the cameraman and then grabbed his shoulders and did a nifty little dance for a minute. It was the least aggressive thing I think I’ve ever seen.
After spending time in The House one of Zak’s crew is affected by the house and does a bit of rampaging through the hotel halls. He also supposedly threw up blood and did other freaky stuff. However, none of that was caught on camera. Weeeeeiiirrd. I’m kind of wondering where the cameras were for that.
Finally, finally in the last ten to twenty minutes he goes full Ghost Adventures and locks himself into the Demon House. With people acting like he’s dropping unarmed into a hot zone. Zak seems to be really, really bored until about 4. Then you hear what could be voices and Zak gets scared, then pain in his eyes. Then he trashes the place. Which could be the only reason they slightly furnished an empty building. So he’d have something to throw. Zak tears the house down (supposedly about the worst thing he could have done since the ‘evil’ was contained to the house) and keeps part of it for his own version if the Warren Museum. Because that’s smart.
I’m not usually one to question medical diagnoses but, according to the documentary, Barry Taff experienced almost total organ shutdown. We do indeed get some nice shots of Mr. Taff in a hospital room but there are no machines, no IVs, no nothing. That strikes me as odd since organ failure can screw up the body immensely. Even partial shutdown. It just seems…odd.
As far as the technical aspects go it’s ok looking. Nothing special. There’s what looks like a finger in the frame that they try very hard to convince us is an evil spectre. But they never show any comparison shots to prove otherwise. Zak’s narration is very flat and unemotional.
I really like documentaries on the supernatural. I may not always believe them but if they’re done well they can still be entertaining to watch and interesting. Demon House was neither of those. A garbled hot mess that really only deserved an hour long Ghost Adventures episode, if that.
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.