At the end of a horror film I often wonder "What will the police make of this?". That question seems to have been the root idea of Demonic.
Twenty five years ago a group of young people were murdered in the Livingstone house in Louisiana. The killer then hanged herself. The exact details of the incident are unclear but it appears to have involved some form of occult ritual. Fast forward to today and another group of young people are investigating the house equipped with modern ghost hunting equipment, Needless to say, it all goes badly wrong.
Demonic actually starts after the second group's encounter. Three are dead, two missing and there's one survivor, John (Dustin Milligan), who is babbling about them having 'woken up' the house. Police Detective Lewis (a mumbling Frank Grillo) and his psychologist girlfriend Michelle (Cody Horn) question John whilst technicians try to recover data from the failed cameras.
The rest of the film is a mixture of 'here and now' events at the investigation combined with John's account of what happened shown as a flashback. This isn't a narrative device I normally like; it can easily lead to viewer disassociation and become an excuse for poor storytelling and infodumps. However Demonic avoids those flaws and the script works well with the structure. The two storylines merge nicely, the cutting back and forth is well timed and it actually feels like an integrated story.
Direction is generally good with plenty of atmosphere and appropriate variety of style for the different sections of the story. There is a small amount of camera point of view which is ok, unfortunately Canon can't avoid the temptation to use unnecessary shaky camerawork elsewhere too.
Despite the structure the story is pretty traditional however it held my attention. There are some definite "Yes, but..." moments and the ending isn't overly surprising, but overall I could buy into it and enjoyed the genre mashup.
So Demonic is flawed, but still one of the more interesting and engrossing horror movies I've seen recently.
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