Is there such a thing as a classy horror film? Do they exist? I think so, and Miles Doleac’s Demons is a representation of that. Expert cinematography with stunning visuals match a cast of reserved performers in a glamorous location. Demons is the kind of movie that you sit and enjoy while dining on grapes, cheeses and fine wine. Hell, even the production company – Historia Films – has a certain ring to it that contains a classic vibe. But what does this mean for story content? Does the terrifying aspects of the movie fall to the side while every other element shows off and succeeds? Luckily, Demons does a good job of separating the two conflicting mediums, and writer, director and star Miles Doleac consciously jumps between them to weave a tale that’s both scary and dramatic. Though the drama takes center stage and outweighs the horror on almost every occasion, there are several scenes near the end that you may find creepy and surprising.
A previous press release compares Demons to The Exorcist and The Shining, but I don’t see how the latter film comes into play here. While The Exorcist is a comfortable stretch, I’d liken this movie more to Lovely Molly and The Exorcism of Emily Rose than The Shining. Although, I can see how the Stanley Kubrick movie comes into play. For much of this film, I felt like it was two stories converging into one as the horrifying scenes existed outside of themselves as a depiction of what was happening in the main character’s new novel. Demons follows a former priest who finds love with the sister of a young girl he failed to exorcise a demon from. Years later, he’s now a celebrated writer with a beautiful family and a bustling bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, hosting their friends’ wedding at the bed and breakfast unleashes the dead girl from their past who returns from the grave as a specter and threatens to derail the wedding.
Miles Doleac (“Containment,” Shark Lake), Lindsay Anne Williams, Steven Brand (The Scorpion King, “Teen Wolf”), Kristina Emerson, Gary Grubbs (JFK, “Will & Grace”), Jessica Harthcock, Yohance Myles (“Containment,” The Devil’s Dolls), Caroline Baggerly, Megan Few, Andrew Divoff (Air Force One, Wishmaster), John Schneider (“Dukes of Hazzard,” “Smallville”) star in this supernatural horror drama from Miles Doleac. I find that Kristina Emerson turned out to be my favorite actress and character out of the bunch. Lara was surprisingly wise, powerful and devilishly free; and the actress who played her was the definition of sultry. Let me not forget to mention Lindsay Anne Williams, whose scream was meant to be used in Hollywood horror. All of the acting was high class, like the rest of the film, so it’s nice that everything was so cohesive. When it comes to bringing their performances to life, the only hindrance I noticed was some “fishbowl audio” in a couple scenes. That’s the term I give to faulty audio that sounds like it was recorded in a class dome. From the production side of things, that’s the only glaring error I noticed in Demons.
Demons was produced by Lindsay Anne Williams, Ryan H. Jackson and Kevin McGrail with executive producers John Lawrence and Miles Doleac. Ben McBurnett served as cinematographer with Keith Jared Hollingsworth as editor and Zach Depolo as production designer. Not only is Demons classy, but it’s smart! The script lends itself to a lot of fascinating ideas and themes including the sin of carnality (passions and appetites), other cultures of beliefs like Native American lure, Christian angels and demons, Scientific alternate realms, psychology and of course exorcism. Really, the title Demons is quite fitting because it’s a metaphor in itself. Demons doesn’t necessarily mean a horned monster that inhabits your body. There’s other, more psychological demons that can rear their ugly heads, too. Either way, the family you find in this movie is… fucked up! A little too far into the realm of drama for my taste, but it’s still a slight horror flick worth watching if you’re in the mood for something slower and different. Final Score: 6.75 out of 10.