starring Dustin Milligan, Scott Mechlowicz, Cody Horn, Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Megan Park, Aaron Yoo and Alex Goode
screenplay by Max La Bella, Will Canon and Doug Simon
directed by Will Canon
Called “Dark House” in Japan, Demonic is a cookie-cutter horror film featuring a full menu of horror movie elements: a heinous murder that’s become legendary in the town; ghosts; an isolated, abandoned house; pubescent victims; a skeptical adult cop; a demon; and it all happens at night, of course. “Dark House” isn’t a bad name, really. A group of young people conducts a night time ghost hunt inside an abandoned house where a violent multiple-murder occurred twenty five years ago. They wire the house with all kinds of modern technological electronic recording equipment, pretending they’re scientist, thereby leaving detective Mark Lewis (Frank Grillo) lots of evidence when their dead bodies are discovered by a neighbor investigating a noise complaint later. The story is laid out as a series of flashback-and-real time slices.
The leader of the group, Bryan, is a brilliant young man who is angry and jealous because his ex-girlfriend, Michelle, brings her new boyfriend, John, to their haunted house investigation. John just happens to be the son of the only survivor of the murder they are investigating, which is a tidbit of information he conveniently conceals for plot reasons. That’s uncomfortable. For any girls who might be reading this, guys hate it when you break up with them but then bring a date to their séance party. In addition, that intensely negative sexual energy combined with the resident demon who’s still trying to use the architectural structure as a portal to enter our world is just begging for everyone to be killed. Remember the Sin principle of horror movies. Only virgins survive. If you have sex - or drink or do drugs - you die.
I don’t go in for a lot of horror movies. Mostly it’s my daughter who’s cultivated my interest in them. I expected this movie to be a lot scarier than the picture on the DVD box made me think. The problem is that the movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a murder story, a ghost story, or a demon-possession story. So it tries to combine them. I think it should have stuck with just one. Two at the most.