The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - E-DEMON | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - E-DEMON

e-demon review
A group of video chatting friends unwittingly unleash a demon.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Jeremy Wechter

Starring: Julia Kelly, John Anthony Wylliams, Christopher Daftsios, Ryan Redebaugh

e-demon poster

This is a high concept movie; the type where you just know they thought of the title and then the idea and then the actual story, in that order. These are not necessarily bad movies and sometimes they have actually been great. But for every Se7en there is a Snakes on a Plane, so an audience can never be sure how much quality to expect.

E-Demon opens with an anonymous and disguised person explaining that he/she represents the ‘e-demon Resistance Network’, and they wish to expose what really happened the night of ‘The Quad murders’.

It seems the most puzzling aspect is that the multiple killings happened miles apart, crossing state lines but all involving four long-time graduated Ohio State College buddies. Anonymous claims a released Demon is the true reason for the murders; to prove this assertion he welcomes us to watch the “actual recording of what happened that night”; and after a warning of the graphic nature of the following footage, the recording begins.

e-demon review

We are treated to a Skype session among the four aforementioned friends; in fact, as it fills the screen and is the mechanism used to tell the story, we are almost a part of the session.

We meet Kendra (Julia Kelly), who apparently “moved to the big city” and is finally getting her first children’s book published.

There’s AJ (Christopher Daftsios), the group's rich playboy, who is “showing off his wealth” and bragging about his new girl/eye candy Bianca.

There’s Mar (Ryan Redebaugh), who seems to be the group's loser friend; he was once a Community Centre psychiatrist but is now living in his parents' basement.

Rounding out the four is Dwayne (John Anthony Wylliams), a family man happily married with two precocious daughters.

They discuss their various adventures and fill in the gaps since their last catch up. There is some good-natured ribbing of AJ and Mar, who both tolerate it well up to a point.

Taking his laptop on an excursion up to the attic, Mar introduces us to his creepy semi-senile Gamma (grandmother) who tells the story of the cursed trunk they have up there. She informs them it contains malevolence from the Salem witch trials and should never be opened or it will unleash a demon and unspeakable evil.

Shortly after this - of course! - Mar opens the trunk.

He messes about with a hastily fashioned voodoo doll of AJ, who promptly enacts paroxysms of agony whenever Mar messes with the doll.

e-demon review

Meanwhile, Mar’s sister Suzie (Jessica Renee Russell) steps on broken glass from the trunk and some minor hell breaks loose.

It seems that AJ and Mar are messing with their old classmates in what they all refer to as a 'freak out', elaborate scares they used to play on each other. Suddenly some major hell breaks loose and it's assumed (wrongly or rightly) to still be a part of the freak out.

AJ plays a rape joke scenario that upsets Kendra and takes her away from the screen for a time. Long enough for her to miss the signs that people are growing violent after staring into the eyes of the ‘infected’.

Mar’s ‘creepy brother’ Bastian, played by Vincent Cooper (there’s always a creepy brother/friend), explains that he believes the mirror Suzie stepped on was a ‘Demon trap’ and breaking it released it; he elaborates that it seems able to possess several people simultaneously, its goal to bring the devil to earth.

A viral demon, if you will.

Enlisting the help of his friend Wallace, played by Cedric Cannon, who specialises in witchcraft (there’s always one of those too), they set out to stop the demon spreading.

e-demon review

The entire film is set on your screen as if it were a computer screen, using the immediacy of Instant messaging and Skype to tell the story, a useful tool perhaps used to better end in films such as Unfriended and Searching but certainly done very well here; this is seemingly the path found footage films are now taking.

I have always been a fan of found footage - the audience inclusivity works a treat for me and I always find myself sucked in. I am aware however it is divisive in the horror fan community with some seeing it as cheap and destructive to the ‘art’ of horror. I understand these arguments but disagree. Since Cannibal Holocaust and the seminal The Blair Witch Project I’ve been a supporter and so perhaps it's best to take that into account when you consider whether this might be a film for you.

Somewhat convoluted and flabby in parts with ‘over exposition’ the buzzword necessary with such a growing-more-and-more-complicated plot, it has some very nice set pieces such as the use of audio in a scene with empty chairs, and it's clever in how it expands the story beyond each player's lounge room, something that gives it a leg up on Unfriended.

Effectively creepy, it makes good use of the limited format using phones and headsets to continue the action.

Unfortunately the framing device is less successful and possibly unnecessary.

Overall, far better than expected, and quite chilling in parts.

The lesson is clear - always listen to your grandmother.

E-Demon is on VOD September 14th.