Demonic (2021)

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Carly Pope, Chris William Martin, Nathalie Boltt, Michael J. Rogers, Terry Chen, Kandyse McClure, Andrea Agur

Since making a splash with District 9, Neill Blomkamp has remained a director of interest regardless of how his follow-ups were received. For his fourth feature,  he delivers a low-budget affair secretly shot during the pandemic. The story follows Carly (Carly Pope), a woman trying to move on from her past when she's contacted by a company regarding her comatose mother (Nathalie Boltt). They offer an experiment allowing Carly to enter her mothers mind, only to unleash a terrifying demon.

The directors first horror film promises a possession tale with a high-tech edge, offering a mash-up of Possessor meets Second Life. Being asked to step inside her mother's mind, Carly's given the chance to reconcile with her painful past through a simulation resembling an indie video-game. These instances uncover a demon lurking within, only to highlight how lacking these horror elements are. There's no sense of atmosphere, as the creepy attempts rely on too many dream sequences which becomes rather tedious.

Yet the breaking point comes half-way through when Carly's friend drops one heck of a revelation, detailing how The Vatican fund a black-ops unit to hunt demons. It's a bonkers idea that's out of place with the film beforehand, and yet this gamble goes nowhere. It's plot-point which hasn't been thought through, as the film gets caught in a messy bundle of ideas and loses faith in where to go. Spare a thought for the cast, trying their best to sell the central relationships despite the material being a poor reflection of their talents.

Demonic is available in cinemas and Premium Digital now, and on Blu-Ray and DVD from 25th October