Sorry About the Demon - Fright Fest World Premiere Review
Director: Emily Hagins
Starring: Jon Michael Simpson, Patrick McQuitty, Paige Evans, Sarah Cleveland,
Written by: Emily Hagins
Produced by: Emily Gotto, Ben Hanks, Pasha Patriki, Aaron B. Koontz, Ashleigh Snead
Cinematography by: Eric Oh
A young man struggling with a broken heart learns that his new place is full of restless spirits.
The haunted house sub-genre has been a staple of horror cinema since its inception. The setup of people living in a house or building occupied by ghosts or demons has dominated horror throughout the decades. ‘The Haunting’ (1963), ‘The Amityville Horror’ (1979), ‘The Shining’ (1980), ‘Poltergeist’ (1982) are just some of the best examples. This sub-genre is showing no signs of slowing down thanks to recent films like ‘His House’ (2020), ‘The Night House’ (2020) and ‘Relic’ (2020). Emily Hagins, who previously worked on segments in anthology series ‘Scare Package’ and ‘V/H/S’ now brings her quirky sense of humour to her new horror comedy ‘Sorry About the Demon’.
The film centres on Will (Jon Michael Simpson), a young man who is struggling after a break up with his girlfriend Amy (Paige Evans). After moving into a new place, Will soon learns that his new home is host to various ghosts and a powerful demon that needs a “human sacrifice” which was offered up to the demon from the family who rented the house to Will. Battling a broken heart and deadly demons, can Will find the strength he needs to overcome this powerful entity and save those close to him?
I really enjoyed this quirky little film. The film feels more like a TV movie but I think this works to its advantage. There's several recognisable horror tropes on show here such as possession, undead ghosts lurking around every corner, jump scares and some gross out moments. I enjoyed seeing certain homages to other haunted horror movies like ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2009) and ‘Poltergeist’. The film's effects are reminiscent of ‘The Evil Dead’, clearly working on a lower budget but still grotesque and playful at the same time. There’s one particular gross moment involving an arm that will have viewers squirming.
Hagins clearly knows what's required when it comes to this particular premise but she seems to be more concerned with allowing the softer, zanier elements to merge with the darker aspects of the film. The film ditches the serious tone and feels more like an extended ‘Goosebumps’ episode. I’m aware that her previous work has leaned into the comedy space and so the film isn’t as scary as I’d hoped it would be, but thanks to the performances and the Director’s eccentric flair, it’s highly entertaining.
The performances are fun. Jon Michael Simpson brings such a meek vulnerability to the role of Will. His quirkiness makes him very likeable but at times shallow. When things go bump in the night (no pun intended) his reactions are amusing but it’s the more tender moments in the film that Simpson shines. His ability to show heartache and loss is great. The rest of the cast are great and seem to be having fun with their roles.
‘Sorry About the Demon’ is a fun, entertaining movie full of screwball comedy mixed with jolting horror that fans of Sam Raimi or John Landis will likely appreciate. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and it offers something a little different in the haunted house sub-genre. Emily Hagins is definitely a rising, promising talent and I am always here for more female directors at the helm of horror.
- Joe Lennon
'Sorry About the Demon' received its World Premiere at FrightFest 2022 on August 29th and will be available to stream on Shudder later this year.