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Review: Zak Bagans’ Demon House (A Scary, Unbelievable Documentary)

Maybe you’ve never watched an episode, but you’ve at least heard of “Ghost Adventures.” Travel Channel’s most popular television show, “Ghost Adventures” is the last of a long line of ghost hunting shows that sees paranormal investigators searching haunted locations around the country in hopes of discovering evidence of the afterlife and unfriendly poltergeists. Having just finished its twelfth season, “Ghost Adventures” lead investigator Zak Bagans made headlines in winter 2014 after he purchased a house in Gary, Indiana that was nicknamed The Demon House and labeled a portal to Hell. The haunting that began in the house took place months before Bagans arrived with his camera crew, so it became worldwide news when Scarecrow Enterprises made it their next destination. Bagans’ team expected a routine search and destroy, but now, over three years later, their documentary – Demon House – is finally seeing the light of day. You may ask yourselves, “Why did a documentary take so long,” and the fact of the matter is the horror that restarted when the crew rolled camera far transcended the madness that lurked in the house prior to their arrival. Without risking spoilers, more than a dozen people’s lives have been negatively affected by this documentary. Evil did not want to be video taped.

I know what you’re thinking. “Ghost Adventures is staged,” just like “Ghost Hunters” and “Paranormal State” were staged; thus Demon House has to be staged, too. As someone who has experienced the supernatural more than a handful of times in my life, I know it’s out there, and not every spirit you run into is going to be docile. To be honest, Demon House scared me. It really, really did; so much so that I even got up the following night, flicked my bedroom light on, and made sure that I was alone in the room. Here’s why. Demon House is best watched with an open mind to the supernatural and creatures that lurk in the dark. If you start you’re viewing with the mindset that it’s staged and full of crap, then you’re not going to enjoy this documentary at all. Instead, if you go in with your mind as a blank state, there’s room for this documentary to do what it is intending to do – scare the Hell out of you. Sure, reality television junkies and amateur ghost hunters are going to dive on this one when it’s released, but the casual viewer can enjoy it as well – if they open their mind to the possibility that demons and evil entities exist. Sure, Zak Bagans is easy on the eyes, but what he goes through here, in this documentary, is enough to put more than a few gray hairs on his head.

There was a lot of kickback when shooting this documentary. As I stated above, many good people’s lives were ruined during principal photography in ways that are out of our comprehension. A lot of people quit the production crew. One instance in particular, involving a hotel elevator, was incredibly unsettling to those that experienced it in person. The Demon House’s former owners, law enforcement, and common onlookers – literally anyone who crossed the little house in Gary, Indiana – became a victim of terrible circumstances. One even resulted in the death of Zak Bagan’s close friends, Mark and Debby Constantino, which also made headline news in Fall 2015. Sickness, mental illness, home invasions and violent arguments plagued the cast and crew of Demon House; some of it was even captured on tape for your viewing pleasure. The most interesting kickback came when owners of the property attempted to sell the story to a large production studio who were calling it The Next Big Amityville. What’s stomach turning about this whole thing, which even extends to Bagans and his crew, is the money and attention everyone is willing to receive at the expense of everyday people who have suffered enough. In hindsight, maybe that’s how the demonic entity was able to grow so strong. The greed of it all.

At the same time, Demon House isn’t completely one-sided. Bagans does an excellent job of providing both sides of the story, both sides of the coin, and scientific reasons for what’s happening inside the house. This can be seen most with the mold story-line. Viewers will also be treated to a plethora of cinematically pleasing reenactments, and they go hand in hand with Bagans’ narrations about what went on during the months and years of paranormal activity. The house itself is bigger than it looks on the outside, and its location in general is what makes this documentary so sinister. It takes place in the middle of a suburban street. If a demonic force could anchor itself to a property and wreak havoc like it did in Gary, Indiana, what makes you think it can’t do that in your house, too? When you couple this with all the victims’ testimonials, backstories and behind-the-scenes experiences, Demon House is absolutely frightening. Chilling. Every word you can think of that describes scary as fuck. Props to Zak Bagans, Jay Wasley, Billy Tolley, Michael Dorsey, Joseph Taglieri and Chris Scarafile for sticking it out and looking a horned beast from Hell straight in the eyes.

Although, unlike what you’d expect, they didn’t stand and fight it. They ran.

Demon House is available on March 16th 2018 in select theaters and on VOD and Digital HD courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

High recommended. Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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