'Demonic" is a supernatural horror that blends elements of classic horror storytelling with a slice of Gen X found footage. It is directed Will Canon and stars Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, Dustin Milligan, Scott Mechlowicz, Megan Park, Scott Mechlowicz, Alex Goode, Aaron Yoo and Terence Rosemore. The film is a tepid mixture of classic horror tropes and equally recognizable whodunit crime thriller elements.
Detective Mark Lewis (Frank Grillo) and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Klein (Maria Bello) are called to investigate the horrific massacre of three college students, brutally murdered inside an abandoned home. The students were amateur ghost-hunters seeking out paranormal phenomenon at the abandoned house, which was believed to be haunted. What began as youthful curiosity turned into something truly terrifying, and now Lewis and Klein are forced to explore the supernatural in order to solve the murders and find two missing students.
The film's premise is a straightforward concept that incorporates classic, overdone horror tropes with slices of Gen X flavor, in the form of found footage - as in documentary footage recovered from the scene. The dual concepts, although not original, are offered up in a clever parallel time line. It creates a sort of murder mystery aspect, broken up by standard paranormal horror moments next to found footage sequences. To a small degree the mixture sometimes feels disjointed, but the back and forth does break up any monotony that would otherwise be present.
The cast give quality performances, the line up consists of recognizable faces, and known names. There is a glare of underdevelopment to the characters, that if a bit of tweaking had been done, could have really became full-bodied portrayals. Still there is enough to make them relatable.
Special effects are the typical gimmicks one expects in these kind of films. Shock gags and sound bites meant to give a fright are over used and often fall flat. Still "Demonic" has its moments of genuine chills, and the gore elements are quality. Think "Insidious" -esque trickery, just a few more misses. The horror moments run the gambit of "see it coming" to "cool and creepy".
Overall the film is a mediocre but watchable horror flick with some quality actors, refreshing concepts, entertaining climax, and enough death to hit that ghoulish spot. It does have some redundancy issues, and a cloud of "know what's going to happen before it happens", but the movie gives enough to make it enjoyable. (3/5)