Movie Review: Demons (2017)

So, the other day I was going through my social media when I noticed I had a message waiting for me. Turns out, the message had a pretty cool surprise waiting for me. It had a screener link to Uncork'd Entertainment's latest film Demons (2017), which is a horror film written and directed by Miles Doleac. Now, if you're like me, the name might not sound familiar, but you should definitely recognize Doleac's face when you see it because he has a bunch of film/television acting credits under his belt. However, I guess Doleac wasn't happy with just acting in movies because now he's writing and directing them. Demons mark Doleac's third feature film, along with The Historian (2014) and The Hollow (2016), that he's written, directed and... stared in.

So, what is the movie Demons about? Well, for a hundred and five minutes you're taken on a haunting journey that revolves around a married couple, Colin, and Kayleigh. The couple met when
Colin was a priest and he was brought in to do an exorcism on Jewel, Kayleigh's younger sister. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out so well, which is why that night has haunted them both ever since and... so has Jewel's ghost.

Ok, so first off I gotta say the story caught my attention right off the bat. A priest is brought in for an exorcism and he falls in love? Wow! That's a hell of a "How we met" story for the grandkids. "So, there we were, trying to save your aunt Jewel's soul. As your aunt was speaking in tongues and her head was spinning around in circles, I happen to look into your grandmother's eyes and that's when I knew... she's was the one for me. Then I yelled, hit her with the holy water again!" All joking aside, the story is actually pretty interesting. I like how the story rides a fine line between supernatural and realistic that makes you wonder at times what's really happening. Yeah, Jewel is a ghost, which is where the supernatural part comes from but was the lead up to her demise real? Was Jewel really possessed or was something else the cause of everything? Something else about the story that I absolutely dug was the I didn't see the ending coming. I thought the story was building up to take a left and Doeac sneaks in and takes a right on us, which was... awesome! Some many times you can tell where a story is going and sure enough you were right, but not this time.

As far as the playthrough goes, I liked it, but the way it was told can a be a bit hard to follow. You start in the past, fast forward a bit and then fast forward some more to the present time, which is cool. Where things get a bit tricky is there are a bunch of flashbacks that fill in what happened to Jewel. Most are easy to get because the main character was a clean cut priest and now he's a full-bearded writer, which was a brilliant idea by Doleac to help the audience. However, if you're not paying attention you might get lost in the back and forth. Personally, I liked the way Doleac went with the story as far as using the flashbacks and slowly giving the audience little breadcrumbs of information, instead of throwing it all out in big chunks. Those little crumbs kept you wondering what was really going on, which is what made the movie so good.

Some of the cast you'll see is Miles Doleac (The Hollow), Jessica Harthcock (The Other Room), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), Steven Brand (Echoes), Gary Grubbs (Project Almanac), Lindsay Anne Williams (The Historian), Caroline Baggerly (Packaged), Kristina Emerson (Casual). The cast line-up had some awesome surprises in it, like Divoff, Schneider, and Grubbs. I don't know if I've ever seen a character that Divoff's done that I didn't like for some reason and this one was no different. Divoff plays a hardcore religious dad that's trying to take care of his family, but the way he goes about it makes him kind of a bad guy. What's I dug about Divoff's role was the seemingly cold intensity that he brought to the character. He was straight up chilling to watch in some scenes. Scheider is another really good actor and he does great when playing the nice guy, but I absolutely dig his characters that have a twist. I don't know what it is about those kinds of characters, but Scheider is awesome in those roles.  Doleac surprised me, for someone that's carrying the weight of the film, on and off camera, he pulled it off with ease and I dug his character. Lindsay Anne Williams was a bit of a hit and miss with me. I felt like she did better in the flashback scenes. Something about the present time character (the wife) was just off and stiff, while her flashback scenes (before they got together) felt smoother and flowed better. Otherwise, I thought the rest of the cast did a good job.

The special effects looked really good and the makeup work by Robin Malone was killer looking. In horror films, there's always a curiosity about the level of gore because too much can put people off from watching them. You'll be happy to know that Demons doesn't have a bunch of blood and stuff flying around. Yeah, you'll see some bloody scenes and a moment where someone has something sticking out of them, but nothing like buckets of blood or intestines spilling out. All the messy scenes are actually tame and fitting to the scenario. Unlike some of the over exaggerated gore in some movies.

Overall, I ended up getting a good story with some cool twists along the way. If you have a chance, I'd give this one a watch.

3 stars

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