I'm all for ambitious films, but sometimes overzealous filmmakers can bite off more than they can chew. This seems to be the case with Demonic and relative newcomer Will Canon.
The film is a blend of found footage horror and procedural crime mystery which is compelling on face value, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. It's always hard to pull off a genre-bender, but it's extra difficult when one of the genres is horror. Having a tonal shift away from true horror can be distracting to the audience and this is definitely the case here.
The film does have promise though as the story is one that combines all of the good elements of a haunted house horror film with a detective mystery. It's something that I had never thought about before but makes perfect sense. There are sadly few films that tackle the aftermath of a horror film, but the Saw films do this extremely well over the series.
It's not surprising then to find out that James Wan served as the producer of Demonic. Not only was he responsible for the early Saw films, but he is the horror rock star behind recent classics Insidious and The Conjuring. Given the end result though, I would expect that he wasn't too involved in the creative process of the film.
The biggest problem with the film is that it feels like two separate films that were forced together like a round peg into a square. The horror film about the college students who were butchered in a supposed haunted house was the better half, but the detective mystery kept butting in at all the wrong moments.
Interestingly, the two better-known actors, Frank Grillo and Maria Bello, carry the action in the detective parts but even their acting chops can't save the mess of a plot. Again, the failure was the execution as the story has a few interesting elements and plot twists that felt organic to the story.
Unfortunately, the film just doesn't work and it became a real challenge to finish. Only the most die-hard horror aficionados will want to check this one out. Everyone else should skip it and hold out for the many other horror films that are coming out in the coming months.