As her mother is in a coma, a woman is brought in to go under and investigate what is going on with a team of specialists. As she visits her mother’s coma state, something becomes clear, it’s not just a mental issue.
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, this is his fourth feature film and fans of District 9 and Chappie even may be a bit disappointed. This is not top form Blomkamp. This feels like a weird, watered-down Blomkamp. When it was announced that he was making a horror film, fans waited with anticipation. Unfortunately, the story is not as good as it should have been, leading to a film that should have been a lot stronger, but isn’t. The ideas of demonic presences using a loved one as a portal as well as the science (fiction) behind sending someone into someone else’s coma to investigate were great ideas. Unfortunately, the process is just not that interesting. This film should have been scary, it could have been one of the scariest films of the year, but it just isn’t. The story is where things are lacking in terms of scares, but the execution is also a bit to blame in that it falls flat often where the direction could have picked things up and made it a bit scarier.
The cast here does what they can and they manage to get good performances out of the film. The characters are not badly written thankfully and the cast is talented, so they really help keep the film going. Lead Carly Pope does the most of her scenes and really sells that she’s worried about her mother and later about much more than that. Nathalie Boltt plays Angela, Carly’s mother, and her performance is excellent. She really turns things on when the evil hits the fan and she’s just great to watch. She goes for it, gives a brave performance where she takes risks and makes it her own. She’s the highlight of the film and if someone is looking for reason to watch this, her performance should be the one to get them in.
Now, the effects. These are unfortunately quite uneven. The practical side of things is excellent and looks great. It shows that the crew behind these is really talented and knows how to do this kind of work. The CGI on the other hands is not great. Some sections of it are downright awful. It sucks to have to say this, but one of the may effects for the film, a set up that comes up a few times, is just not good. It may not have been meant to look perfect due to what it is in the story, but it just yanks the viewer out and makes them not care about what’s going on anymore.
Demonic is one of those films that should have been so much better. Given who wrote and directed and his previous work, it could have been so good. The fact that the scares are so low and the film is so uneven makes it a frustrating watch. The acting is good, with a standout performance from Nathalie Boltt. The practical effects are great, the cgi not so much. It’s like a bit of ups and downs, but not with the story. It’s a great concept, but the execution is not it.