Director – Nigel Hartwell (Insight of Evil, Suburban Madness)
Starring – Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp, Ugly Sweater Party), Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th, Leaf Blower Massacre 2), and Bret Hart (Trailer Park Boys: Jail Shorts, Corner Gas Animated)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 1/5
What I love about indie horror flicks is that no matter how much I didn’t care for a movie I still find a way to enjoy myself. A lot of indie production take risks or gambles that most bigger budget productions would never make. A few months ago director Nigel Hartwell reached out to me about his newest horror thriller Demented starring horror icons Felissa Rose and Ari Lehman along with wrestling legend Brett Hart. I was very interested in this one because of the names attached to it so I spoke with Nigel some. He decided to send a copy my way for review. Thanks Nigel!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a young woman who is in love with a man that seems to be too good to be true. He decided to take her away for a weekend trip to a cabin his family owns but she soon finds herself strapped to a bed in a school girl uniform. A woman talks to her but refuses to help so she frees herself from the bed and sneaks out the window. She starts walking but no one will stop to help her and people can’t hear her. However, she soon finds herself at her boyfriend’s cabin where he is there with another girl. She soon realizes that she is, in fact, dead and her “boyfriend” is part of an underground snuff ring that sells copies of their home videos on the black market. **Spoiler Alert**
I was really excited to check out Demented. The cast really impressed me and I’m a huge fan of the film’s poster. The grindhouse approach really sells the movie in my opinion. However, this one wasn’t for me. It had a very interesting idea that could have worked but the movie seemed to fall apart as it progressed.
The acting in this one is very inconsistent. Some of the cast is very seasoned with a lot of experience. These cast members deliver some solid performances but they are not that memorable. With that being said, some of the cast is very inexperienced which results in some awkward scenes. Everyone is fully dedicated to their roles but a lot of the scenes does come up short.
The story for this one is a very interesting take on the a supernatural thriller meets snuff. Honestly, the story would have made one hell of a novel (if it isn’t one already) but as a movie it played out like a very uninteresting Lovely Bones meets John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns. It really could have been an amazing genre effort with a foundation that could forever change indie horror. However, having the film focus on the young girl uncovering the mystery of her death, which the viewer knows about all along, results in a film that is painfully predictable and no as engaging as intended. Also, the further into the film you get the choppier the scenes get. The last 20 minutes of so of the film seems out of place and feels like it was added last minute to get Felissa Rose and Bret Hart into into the film. It could have been a cool angle but it’s really out of place as it is.
Finally, the film is not a blood bath or gore filled flick as one would expect. The snuff angle paints scenes of gore and mayhem for most horror fans but in Demented we get a masked man and a woman tied to a bed while not so vile or vulgar things are said to them. Maybe watching all those SamHel films has desensitized me to harsh acts but the killer and set up for this one is not as “demented” as I was expecting. Don’t expect to see memorable kills or blood with this one. Overall, Demented has a very interesting story that could have been something a lot more than what it is if they would have embraced the snuff angle a little more. The killer is very underwhelming and the paranormal portion of the film lacks atmosphere and tension for it be effective. I respect the hard work that went into this one but I’m not a fan. As always, you should make up your own opinion about the film and not let my review do that for you.