New this week on DVD/BluRay from Lionsgate Home Entertainment!
aka HOUSE OF HORROR, HOUSE OF THE DEAD, HAUNTING
Directed by Will Canon
Written by Max La Bella (story & screenplay), Will Canon & Doug Simon (screenplay)
Starring Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, Dustin Milligan, Scott Mechlowicz, Megan Park, Aaron Yoo, Alex Goode, Terence Rosemore, Jesse Steccato, Meyer DeLeeuw, Griff Furst, Thomas Francis Murphy, Ashton Leigh, Katarina Boudreaux, Tyson Sullivan
This mish-mash of found footage within a movie flick isn’t half bad. A lot of it has to do with some solid performances by the cast and some decent scares. But a solid foundation is what really holds the haunted house thriller DEMONIC together.
DEMONIC begins with police detective Mark Lewis (Frank Grillo) answering a disturbance call at an abandoned house and finding a number of dead bodies with one survivor. It seems this was the site of a mass murder many years ago and a group of eager young ghosthunters entered the building in hopes of capturing some good ghostly footage. Instead they found their doom. Lewis and his girlfriend and police psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Klein (Maria Bello) attempt to decipher the recordings and get some information from the survivor, who is in shock. But the further they investigate, the closer they realize something truly paranormal is going on.
At this point, it’s safe to say that whatever Frank Grillo is in is worth checking out. Here he exudes a likability and a gruffness you would expect in a cop in a small town with a terrible history. Grillo actually makes everything more legit simply by being in this film. Bello also brings a lot of credibility to this flick as the caring, but cautious psychologist. The rest of the cast is ok—sort of the typical cast one would expect from a found footage film. But these two are what makes this film feel bigger than it really is.
This is really two films in one. One part occurs in the present with Bello and Grillo’s characters interviewing the suspect and the rest of the investigation. The rest occurs within the footage, so it feels like this is a film about finding a found footage film, if you can understand that. In terms of flipping back and forth between the two timelines, director Will Canon keeps everything pretty clear and the story unraveling. This is no easy task and I think it is a testament to Canon’s abilities as a director in making it all work and make sense.
Jump scares and some iffy CG effects are a plenty in DEMONIC. The ending of the found footage section is already given away at the beginning, so there’s little suspense in that. Still, DEMONIC manages to toss in a twist or two by the end. This is a better than average mid-range budget horror film that is a good time waster. I don’t want to oversell, but one could do much worse. At least it has Grillo and Bello in there to spice things up.