Saturday 21 January 2023

Shudder Saturday: Sorry About The Demon (2022)

Writer-director Emily Hagins already has a career that spans just over 16 years. That's not a particularly notable detail, until you realise that Hagins is just 30 years old. So, yeah, here's yet another person who managed to start making their dreams into a reality at an age when I was, well, let's keep this between us, I was just trying to plan ten minutes alone with the exotic hosiery selection of the Littlewoods catalogue that was in my house. Anyway, let's get back to Hagins. Despite that lengthy career, and a filmography that includes numerous shorts and one or two other features, Sorry About The Demon feels like a confident film from a first-timer. I don't mean that as an insult. This is a film that gets the humour right, knows how to play around with familiar horror movie moments, and has an energy that you might not find in a more jaded film-maker.

Jon Michael Simpson is Will, a young man who has his heart broken at the start of the movie when he is ditched by his girlfriend, Amy (Paige Evans). He moves into a new place, and soon realises that he's not the only tenant. There are supernatural entities that don't want him in their space. Distracted by the situation, Will is then further put out of sorts when his friend, Patrick (Jeff McQuitty), tries to pair him up with a young woman named Aimee (Olivia Ducayen). Blurting out his current dilemma, Aimee eagerly volunteers to helm cleanse the house and exorcise the bad spirits. That won't necessarily go down too well with the main troublemaker, a demon named Deomonous.

You're not going to want to pick this as a viewing choice if you want any proper scares or gore. It doesn't really have either. What it does have is a classic "possession" premise, a central cast of characters that are fun to spend some time with, and the ability to make up some rules that it then sticks to until the end credits roll. Hagins generally does the right thing with her script, creating the humour from the situation and the juxtaposition of all-too-calm attitudes in the face of potential scares without ever making the main threatening presence a complete joke. Despite the amusing ridiculousness of many scenes, Deomonous always feels like a credible danger.

Simpson is excellent value in the lead role, doing a great job of playing the kind of likeable loser that you hope to see turn things around for the better, and both Ducayen and Evans are excellent as Aimee and Amy, respectively. McQuitty provides some laughs, and Dave Peniuk, Sarah Cleveland, Presley Allard, and Jude Zappala make up the nuclear family unit who give Will a great deal on their home in the hope that his soul may placate the demonic entity that tried to attack their family. Allard is the highlight, her character given a bit more to do than either her parents or her brother, but everyone feels like a good fit in their role.

Sorry About The Demon isn't great. It's not unmissable. There's nothing here that ever really lifts everything up. But there's also nothing here that drags everything down. It's a well-made horror comedy that simply sets out to entertain people, and it succeeds in that regard. I would happily rewatch it, I recommend it to people who aren't going to expect a new modern classic, and I look forward to seeing what else we get from Hagins (who I think could effectively drop the comedy and give us a fantastic straight horror one day . . . and hopefully not too far in the future).


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