Demonic review – tricky structure revives haunted house horror

Once again a group of stupidly curious youngsters investigate an old house, using many a well-worn film trope. Tricksy elements save it from genre stereotype

Fashioned out of well-worn, if not hackneyed, horror tropes, Demonic is no meta-level deconstruction of the genre, but it’s a more than competent, fugue-like manipulation that freshens familiar components with a tricky structure. Here, once again, is a collection of stupidly curious kids investigating a haunted house where a mass murder happened a generation earlier. Naturally, they are equipped with massive arsenal of night-vision cameras and recording devices to produce spooky found footage and audio. What’s a little different is that their story gets told in flashback, the grisly fate of most of the victims already known, as two investigators – Frank Grillo’s detective and Maria Bello’s psychologist – examine the evidence and grill Dustin Milligan’s survivor. It’s a smart enough work to make one wish it were a bit better, with less cheesy dialogue, sharper characterisation, and scary bits that didn’t always rely on jump cuts and sudden, percussive audio shocks. But the final twist is sick fun.


Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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