e-Demon Review

An escaped demon manipulates a group of friends hanging out on a video-chat. Its mission is to bring the Devil to Earth. Using technology, it can possess multiple people at once. Figuring out who you can trust is only half the battle.

Disclaimer: This movie deals with some disturbing or offensive subject matter such as rape and incest. If you are offended by this sort of content I suggest you not proceed further with this review as it will discuss these parts of the film.

The Evils of Technology

E-Demon is a found footage styled horror film that takes place over the course of one night. The movie is told from the perspective of four college friends: Kendra, AJ, Dwayne, and Mar. It’s presented in a style similar to Unfriended, Searching, and The Blair Witch Project. That is, we watch the series of events occur through cameras attached to their computers, headsets, and recordings of their desktops. The main focus or theme of the movie is that maybe we’ve gone too far with technology. It’s a combination of old-world mysticism and new-age technology.

The Story

There will be some spoilers in this section, so if you do not wish to spoil the film for yourself, please do not read this section. Spoiler tags are included for your convenience.

SPOILER
The film begins with a person whose identity is being concealed. Their voice is distorted and their face is blurred out. They claim to be a friend of Kendra’s, and that they made a promise to get this information out. We are then presented with something called the Quad Murders through a series of news clips and online forum debates. All of this, as well as the rest of the movie’s content, is shown from a computer desktop screen.

After the opening sequence is finished, the recorded footage begins with three of the four friends meeting up on Skype. These are Kendra, AJ, and Dwayne. Soon after, Mar joins the call and the four of them reminisce about college and how they enjoyed pranking one another. Mar casually brings up, as you do, that his grandmother is the direct descendant of one of the witches killed during the Salem witch trials. He takes the Bluetooth headset with him to harass his grandma, who seems to be suffering from some sort of mental ailment, while the rest of his friends laugh on.

Because that’s what college graduates in their 30s do.

She tells them that there is a chest in the attic that must never be opened because it contains something evil in it. Of course, Mar ignores this warning and goes upstairs to open it anyways. He uses a voodoo doll and an old book inside to put a curse on AJ. It looks like piercing the doll caused AJ to bleed, and AJ retaliates by using the same incantation on a photo of Mar which causes his arm to bend backward. Everyone is freaking out until the two reveal it was a prank set up by them. They all have a laugh until the others see Mar’s sister, Suzie, acting strange. At first, it’s because she stepped on a mirror that was in the chest, causing her to cut her foot. However, she suddenly grabs a drill and cuts Mar with it before pulling his eyes out.

From there is where the real story begins. Apparently, the mirror contained a vengeful demon intent on bringing the devil back to life. It uses cameras and phones to possess people rapidly because cameras are said to contain a piece of the soul of whomever it captures. By the end of the movie, you’re wondering who is possessed and who isn’t. A friend of Mar’s brother, Wallace, claims to be a male witch and informs the remaining friends that Suzie is the “devil mother”, who is the vessel the demon will use to bring the antichrist to the world.

I mean, yeah. I can see that.

In the end, we see the team fail, and the world slowly becoming possessed by the demon. The anonymous person from the beginning of the film appears after the footage stops and pleads the audience to spread the video. It ends by them entering a command in their computer to send out the video.

The story had great potential to really pull people in, but I feel like there was a lot of time spent on the lore outside of the film. If you visit the film’s website, there is so much lore to go through that explains the background of what’s going on, but I think that more care should have been made to include that in the film itself. It felt like a bunch of random things happening at once.

Characters

Usually, these sorts of films have a very small cast, like the Blair Witch Project that only had three actors. For a found-footage film, there are a surprising amount of characters. Therefore, I will be breaking them down into categories instead of individual sections for each one.

  • The main four: These are the main characters of the film; Kendra, Dwayne, AJ, and Mar. From the film, we are told they all went to the same college, and now they live spread out across the US. This is why the entire film takes place over Skype since it’s the only way to all interact with one another.
  • The Petruso Family: Mar’s family play a huge role in the film. His “Gamma” is the one who warns them about the chest. His sister Suzie is the first to be possessed. His mother, Ann, is the first to possess one of the main group. His brother, Bastian, is the one who seeks out help in order to try and save his family.
  • The Booker Family: Dwayne’s family consist of his wife, Eva, and his daughters, Baily and Teisha. They are his main foil in the film. Because of the nature of the demon, those closest to the main four are used as weapons against them.
  • Other Friends: Other noteworthy characters are AJ’s intern, Kevin, and his girlfriend, Vianca, who are
    SPOILER
    all possessed early on in the film.
    Wallace is the owner of the comic shop that Bastian frequents, and he is also a practicing male witch who attempts to help the group. Finally, we have Fawn and Taylor, two of Kendra’s roommates that witness the ordeal.

I think this may have been an issue for the pacing of the film. There were far too many characters that the writer was trying to focus on that I didn’t feel like I was given time to make a connection with any of them. Sure, I felt bad for Dwayne’s kids and Gamma, but they were almost an afterthought and used to try to pull an emotional reaction from the audience. It just left me not caring what happened to anyone.

Cinematography

As mentioned previously, the entire movie is presented as if it were being recorded on a computer’s desktop. As interesting as a concept as this is, it just didn’t feel properly utilized. Many times, each person’s screen would lag and distort as if they all had poor internet connections. I know it was meant to make things look creepy, but this took me out of the film more than anything. It just made me frustrated as if my own internet connection was making the film lag.

The special effects weren’t that great either. You really notice it towards the end of the film where the lights are flickering and the lightbulbs are bursting. The rest of the film doesn’t utilize special effects aside from the digital lag and other computer-like effects, so it sticks out quite a bit. Also, there were many times when chat tabs or other computer windows would block out parts of the video feed. Again, I know they were going for realism but it was distracting to me.

Soundtrack

Like most found-footage films, there wasn’t much of a soundtrack. It mostly consisted of atmospheric noises and computer sounds. I found this to be the most effective route they could have gone because otherwise, it would have really taken the audience out of the idea that this was supposed to be based on a true event.

Genre

Horror, like many art forms, is subjective. What’s scary for me isn’t going to be necessarily scary for others. However, I feel like the film-makers did a great job keeping it in the realm of horror. They avoided many of the over-used tropes like jumpscares while utilizing others such as going silent to make the audience feel unnerved.

There wasn’t a lot of blood or gore, but it did make you feel panicked and screaming at the screen for them to watch out behind them! I do think there were a few things they could have left out that made it feel a bit cheesy to me. For instance, at one point Suzie and her mother drug Suzie’s father, then hold him down while Suzie rapes him. I know it was to give the film a sense of a shock factor, but I just felt like it was done without purpose since Suzie killed her boyfriend while they were about to have sex. Clearly, incestual rape was not the only option.

Incest Censorship

It was just a REALLY awkward scene to watch.

There was also a point where Taylor, Kendra’s roommate, sits at the computer (while possessed) and compliments Dwayne’s wife before masturbating in front of her. This is how the demon possesses her, through extreme eye contact while he’s pleasuring himself. I know that part of the horror trope is unnecessary sex scenes, but this really just made things feel outright bizarre.

I’m not even going to censor this one. This was it, just awkward staring and touching for two minutes.

Final verdict

I feel like the film had great potential, but due to some strange choices, it just fell short. I liked the concept, the story was interesting, and I feel like it still stayed grounded in its horror roots. There were also some genuinely creepy moments, like a lot of the scenes where they were chanting. Another thing I really appreciated was that the credits were presented as a BIOS program output.

That was just pure genius to me!

However, the acting was awful, the effects were distracting, and the plot just fizzled out halfway through. For example, when

SPOILER
Mar’s is having his eyes removed, he literally said, “Ow, my eyes!” I mean, had it been followed by blood-curdling screaming it would have been fine, but it sounded like it was a minor inconvenience rather than a painful death.

There were also a lot of things that just didn’t make sense, continuity-wise. There were plenty of times where the characters were badly hurt, yet there were no blood stains or cuts on them. For instance, when

SPOILER
Dwayne’s kids slash at him with butcher knives, yet he doesn’t have a scratch on him despite crying out in pain. Another example is when AJ murders Bianca with a knife but there’s no blood on the carpet or anywhere on him.
Something else was the headsets. Yes, they’re Bluetooth enabled, but Bastian is able to travel across town on them and still be able to stream the video footage back to his home computer. We watch one of the characters wearing the headset get drowned, but the footage doesn’t cut until they die.

All in all, I think E-Demon is worth a watch. It doesn’t reinvent the genre by any means, but the concept is different enough. It has a few scares, and now with fall officially starting it’s something to add to your Halloween watch list if you’re looking for something more modern. You can purchase E-Demon on itunes, Google Play, and Vudu.

Good

  • Interesting concept
  • Good soundtrack
  • Keeps it grounded in horror
  • Some creepy moments

Bad

  • Bad acting
  • Poor special effects
  • High cheesy factor
  • Strange sexual aspect
6.5

Fair

Story - 7
Characters - 5
Acting - 4
Cinematography - 7
Soundtrack - 8
Horror - 8
A writer, video game enthusiast, Halloween nerd, and an author of stories.
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