New in select theaters from Outsider Films!
DON’T LOOK AT THE DEMON (aka THE MEDIUM, 2022)
Directed by Brando Lee.
Written by Brando Lee, Alfie Palermo.
Starring Fiona Dourif, Harris Dickinson, Jordan Belfi, Randy Wayne, Malin Crépin, William Miller, Ashlyn Boots, Jessie Franks, Konglar Kanchanahoti, Thao Nhu Phan
Check out the website here!!
Fiona Dourif plays Jules a sensitive paranormal investigator in a team that travels the world looking for strange and unusual occurrences. After witnessing a ritual performed by a monk in Malaysia, Jules is prompted by unnatural forces to check in on an American couple four hours away who are being haunted by an evil entity. Once the team arrives, Jules is overwhelmed by the power of this demon and vows to help this couple in any way she can even though this demon is more powerful than she’s ever encountered before.
It’s awesome to see Fiona Dourif following in the footsteps of her genre-friendly father Brad Dourif and starring in a good old demon possession flick. While DON’T LOOK AT THE DEMON isn’t EXORCIST III, it is a solid story about hauntings and possessions. Dourif is a wonderful actress and while I always thought that big, beautiful tumble of hair on her head was to reflect Chucky’s out of control mop on the CHUCKY series she stars in, but it seems she’s sporting that hair everywhere and I kind of love it. Dourif gives an emotional and physically challenging performance here and shows she is a true talent in the horror genre.
DON’T LOOK AT THE DEMON has quite a few effective scenes filled with scary sights and disturbing imagery. I think at times it relies too much on the jump scare with a ghost suddenly appearing right in front of the investigator’s and viewers’ faces. Sure this provided the necessary jolt, but I feel this effect was used a few too many times. The story also relies quite a bit the spectacle of ritual. It opens with a ritualistic exorcism of some bad mojo in a religious sanctuary. Later, the paranormal team performs a ritual and then when that séance/exorcism fails, the monk from the beginning is brought back to do another one. That’s a ritual or two too many for my tastes. I think a little more creativity to the script might have allowed for some kind of variation in the way the forces of the supernatural could be combatted.
Still, DON’T LOOK AT THE DEMON is better produced and acted than your usual exorcism yarn. Fiona Dourif elevates the material to a new level and the rest of the cast are capable actors as well. Set in the same area as the excellent film, THE MEDIUM, released late last year, I think that film is much more effective in conveying the power of demons in another culture than DON’T LOOK AT THE DEMON. It is a decent watch. Not over the top great, but better than most in this subgenre.