So I watched Demonic…
Okay, basic plot: Carly (Carly Pope) has not spoken to her mother – Natalie – for years. This comes after her mother goes on an unexplained murdering spree. Carly has spent years trying to move on from this horrific act. One day her mother’s doctor contacts her and reports that her mother is in a comatose state but with the help of new technology they can provide Carly the chance to enter her mother’s mind and gain closure. Once in her mother’s mind, Carly discovers a startling truth about her mother’s previous homicidal actions and the evil that lives inside her.
I’m having some trouble believing that this is a Neill Blomkamp movie. His previous work (District 9, Elysium, Chappie) all had a distinctive aesthetic, style and tone which made them unique and very specific to him. This movie feels anonymous. I couldn’t find any of the trademark characteristics that I enjoyed in his previous work. It isn’t set in South Africa, there aren’t any South Africans and it’s not sci-fi. But beyond that, the movie doesn’t have a soul. Blomkamp, in his previous work, took storylines that we’ve seen a million times on film and managed to present them through a unique lens and offered new perspective. In this film, he takes a tired storyline we’ve seen a million times and does nothing to enhance it and, in fact, presents it to us so poorly that it barely qualifies as a horror movie.
Watching a horror movie is like riding a rollercoaster – there’s anticipation and then payoff. This movie doesn’t even scratch the surface of being scary. You keep waiting for the moments of terror or expected terror at least but they never materialise. I think this is largely due to that fact that the ‘big bad’ that our protagonist is meant to run away from and eventually beat, is absent for most of the movie and when he eventually does show up he doesn’t do anything to inspire fear in the audience. You’re told that he’s terrifying instead of being shown the moments that cause terror. This all leads to an impotence in the film that fails to frighten you but more sadly, fails to entertain or engage you at all.
Another flaw in this movie is the lack of quality in the acting. None of the performances made me believe that the events of the film were actually taking place. Kandyse McClure as Sam – Carly’s bestfriend – was particularly terrible. I think it was a combination of poor writing and mediocre acting but her character was unbearable. Carly Pope doesn’t do much better and her performance just isn’t strong enough to carry the movie. I actually wonder if the lack of quality in this movie might be due to the pandemic. Did they have to shutdown production? Was their budget cut? Did they have to rush the release? There’s something fundamentally wrong with this movie and I feel it goes beyond just poor film-making.
Overall it’s impossible to enjoy this movie because you can’t engage with it at any level. The direction is poor, its plot is unoriginal and mundane and the acting is atrocious. Even by horror movie standards, this movie is terrible. Don’t watch it. 4/10