Film Review: Demonic (2021)
Blomkamp's newfound 'neatness' is even worse than his messiness.
Listless and dull, Demonic is a purported change of pace for the director Neil Blomkamp. Here, he eschews the busy messiness of his earlier films in favour of neatness and coherence in his framing.
Considering that this is his first out-and-out horror film I don’t think this serendipity is fortuitous.
A hardcore horror film fused with sci-fi elements would have actually benefitted from a little rawness. If only, to distract from the wafer-thin characterizations and motivations. What, unfortunately, Blomkamp has retained are the pacing issues that *cough* possess all his films.
Carly (Carly Pope) is a loner recovering from some past wound. Estranged from her mother, she avoids her friends and keeps to herself. Martin (Chris William Martin), an old friend, manages to catch up with her and delivers the news that Carly’s mother is in a coma and the hospital is looking for her. The very same night, as if on cue, Carly gets a call from the hospital, requesting her to come in and speak to the doctors.
At the clinic, a doctor, Michael (Michael J. Rogers) informs her that they have a technology through which Carly can be made to go inside her mother’s mind in an attempt to draw her out. Carly, displaying no reluctance or any curiosity about this technology says yes and is strapped to a bed next to her comatose mother. She is instantly transported inside her mother's mind. If you’re expecting some wonderfully surreal visuals of The Cell, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In Tarsem Singh's film, a cop (Jennifer Lopez) was made to go inside a serial-killer’s mind to find out where his latest kidnapped victim is. Singh, a visual artist, realized the opportunity the plot presented for him to realise the dark nooks and crannies of a demented mind and he fully exploited this (unfortunately, that's the only thing Singh did right, but that’s another review).
The world that Carly steps into is just flat and uninteresting with a video game-y filter on it i.e. Carly’s mother’s mind is a fucking boring place to be in where all she does is, um, sit. As it turns out, she is possessed by a demon, whose motivations are even murkier than that of humans that inhabit this film.
There is a ghost of an exciting idea here but it's fleshed out in an uninspired and even ridiculous fashion.