Sorry About the Demon (2023)

There’s a realty good film desperate to break free tom “Sorry About the Demon.” While it’s not what I’d call a bad movie, it’s a movie that director Emily Hagins kind of loses grip over in its final half. It’s overlong for such a paper thin premise, and most times it feels like the movie can never decide if it’s horror rom-com or rom-com with a touch of horror. It’s a shame because the ingredients are there, but “Sorry About the Demon” never adds up to much of a genre film.

After being dumped by his girlfriend Amy, broken hearted, go nowhere, slacker, Will is offered a massive house at a very low rent by a very eager family. What’s the catch? The restless demonic spirit haunting the place needs a human sacrifice, and the prior owners must find one or else their young daughter is toast. As Will realizes he has to live with the demons, he battles it while also trying to mend his broken heart.

For one thing, so much of the movie is mired romance comedy tropes that I sometimes forgot I was watching a horror movie. With something like “Shaun of the Dead” there are elements of romantic comedy but director Edgar Wright managed to always keep his eye on the primary purpose of it being a horror film. With “Sorry About the Demon,” director Hagins spends so much time propping up relationships and building on exposition that once the horror begins, it feels awkward and abrupt. There are even whole stretches of time where there’s not much going on besides main character Will moping around about his girlfriend Amy.

He even mopes to the ghosts and demons in his house about his failed relationship. While this also could have allowed for some raucous laughter, it instead makes him come off as pathetic. You have to wonder why any woman would invest time with him, especially when there’s so little redemption that occurs with his character arc. While I had my reservations, Hagins’ direction is tight and she knows how to build tension and suspense. There are some slick ghost shots that I liked quite a lot. I was also a fan of the collective performances, including Jeff McQuitty, and Jon Michael Simpson. The two stand outs though are Paige Evans and Olivia Ducayen, both of whom are charming and charismatic in their roles.

I especially loved Ducayen as the ghost fighting Aimee, a character who is introduced in the second half, and is beautifully fleshed out by the time the film ends. I really wanted to see more of her kicking ghostly ass. That said, I didn’t care too much for “Sorry About the Demon,” as while it’s not a bad film, it feels so tonally unbalanced, and uneven most times lacking real scares or an emotional core. I love Emily Hagins work and I think she’s a fantastic director, I just wish she had a tighter grip on the script for “Sorry About the Demon.”

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