You Can’t Make Deals With a Demon
Horror is an extremely popular category of film, with many subgenres and millions of fans. Even people who aren’t into the haunts of horror can find some mildly scary films in the campy horror or horror-comedy genres.
Sorry About the Demon fits in with these sillier horror films – Will (John Michael Simpson), a young man recently dumped by his girlfriend, Amy (Paige Evans), decides to rent a house from a seemingly-pleasant family. Unbeknownst to him, there’s a demon inhabiting the house and looking for a sacrifice. With the help of his friends Patrick (Jeff McQuitty) and Aimee (Olivia Ducayen), he must find a way to banish the demon before it claims any of their souls.
Plot and Characters
The plot is mediocre at best, as are most of the characters. Will is constantly pining over his lost love, who doesn’t play a very strong part in the story until halfway through the film. Because the introduction given to their relationship is the scene of them breaking up, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for either side in the aftermath of the split. Will’s heartbreak leads him to try and reconnect with Amy with an awkwardness that seems like it wanted to be funny but was ultimately embarrassing. That being said, his clumsiness, weirdness, and lack of direction in life give him an interesting sort of charm that, in quite a few moments, still manages to shine. He’s not the most heroic character, but he’s not really supposed to be.
The scares aren’t particularly strong, either. The designs of the demon and accompanying ghosts aren’t anything spectacular, and there are very few jumpscares worth jumping over. The most interesting “scary” bit is the demon’s use of technology to look at and speak to Will. Having the characters of a TV show address Will personally is cool to watch and perhaps should have been utilized more.
There’s also the teeny tiny little problem of the demon – called Deomonous – that doesn’t seem to want Will as a sacrifice. It’s a point that’s never explained further than the pathetic take of “even they don’t want me.” The entire plot revolves around Deomonous requiring a sacrifice in exchange for staying away from the soul of the family’s daughter renting the house to Will. Yet, the demon is apparently picky about who they’ll take.
The dialogue, at points, seems forced. The comedic element that the film strives for is clear, but there are many conversations where the humor included doesn’t seem to land. That isn’t to say the film isn’t funny at all – most of the jokes that are actually humorous are visual, relying on actor performance. However, there are quite a few scenes where conversations don’t seem to go anywhere or try to force a comedic element that simply doesn’t happen. There is little to no character development that happens throughout the film – at their core; each character can be simplified down to a flat, cliched stereotype (the skeptical one, the spiritual one, etc).
The ending is a whole other beast altogether – while it is interesting to watch how the characters figure out how to banish Deomonous, the method is questionable at best. It doesn’t seem like a believable ending, though a few running jokes are brought back to give it a cyclical feel. The final shot also hints at a potential sequel, leaving the true fate of the characters uncertain.
Despite these drawbacks, it doesn’t mean that the movie doesn’t look good – there are so many creative camera angles, shots through curtains and closets, and over people’s shoulders that create a really neat effect. As most horror films do, they also use mirrors in interesting ways to show the demon and ghosts in a spooky way. The shaky, handheld quality of certain scenes adds to the feeling of paranoia and dread that Will faces in trying to live in the same house as these supernatural entities. Quite honestly, the look and sound of the film is truly the most brilliant part of the entire thing. It isn’t mind-bending, but it is effective and pretty and helps add to the film’s atmosphere.
Though much of this review focuses on the more negative parts of the film, it’s fair to say that it remains engaging. It’s just creepy enough to provide a shot of adrenaline every once in a while. Though the comedy isn’t blended as well as it possibly could be, there are some humorous and endearing moments that are genuinely pleasant to watch. The sound design and cinematography are gorgeous, and Will, despite the blandness of his character, does prove to have some charming moments. His aimlessness in life may be relatable for those young adults still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, and the fighting of demons, both literal and figurative, weave together a useful message to anyone who may be struggling with identifying their purpose or feeling any sort of self-worth. And perhaps the cliches within the film are meant to be a critique or parody of the horror genre.
Sorry About the Demon can be found on Shudder and Roku.
Sorry About the Demon (2022). Official Shudder Trailer.
|Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration. Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.|