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Demon (2013)

Studio: Ocean Productions, Canyon Pictures

Distributed By: Midnight Releasing, Brain Damage Films

DVD Release: December 3, 2013

Video on Demand Release: September 1, 2013

Director: Rob Walker

Rating: Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I'll watch anything so you don't have to...including Demon.

When I was growing up, it was commonplace for me to grab the family VHS camcorder, round up all of my neighborhood buddies, head out into the woods with nothing more than a passion for filmmaking, a Halloween mask, fake blood, fake guns, shoddy costumes, and peanut butter/jelly sandwiches for the gang.  At the end of the day (or weekend), we would congregate back in the living room, pop the VHS tape in the VCR, and watch our production. And it would resemble something like this...

Turn Around [Rating: 3] (Good job kids!)

Turn Around, spans a time frame of only 3:56. Now imagine a group of adults getting paid (or maybe not) to produce the above movie, extending it to run 77 minutes, and calling it Demon.

Film [Rating: 0.5]

Demon is as generic and uninspired as its title suggests. F.B.I. special agent Nicole Diaz (Jasmine Waltz) is called upon to investigate a series of murders in Sarasota, FL.  While investigating, she is met with resistance from the local police and two mysterious government agents who seem to know more than they are letting on. It doesn’t take long for Diaz to realize that she is not dealing with an ordinary series of murders and that the hunter may actually be something more monstrous.

Now you’re probably thinking that my homemade movie analogy is an exaggeration. Here is the Demon trailer so you may judge for yourself...

Simply put, Demon is written, produced, directed, shot, edited, and performed by adults who exhibit the same, if not less, technical skill as the children featured in Turn Around. Arguably, the only person who is even trying to treat this as legitimate cinema is star Jasmine Waltz, but even she is undercut with nothing to work with, and is made up to look like little more than a dolled up adult film star. Frankly, I feel sorry that she was duped into this production.

Years ago, when I made my home movies, my target audience was me, my friends, family, Mom, and Dad.  I assume the same to be true for the Turn Around crew. But what about Demon? Who is their target audience? Who would this picture appeal to?

Does Demon have gory violence? Not really. Nudity? Nope. Great special effects? Define “great.” Above average special effects? Hahahahahahaha!!! Demon barely has a script! At the very least, with a title like Demon, the audience will expect to see the “demon.” Shockingly the creature barely features as well. I can only assume that Demon is a film that was made for the people who conceived it and, like Turn Around, is the kind of movie only a mother and father of the cast/crew could love.

In the end, you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to spend money on a product that offers nothing more than the homemade movie experience, which is readily available for free on Youtube.

Video & Audio [Rating: 0.5]

Midnight Releasing/Brain Damage Films sent us a screener DVD which is labeled “Not final product.” I wanted to assume that they meant the video and audio quality, but sadly I don’t believe this to be the case.

The problem isn't with the DVD from the distribution company. Again, it's the source material. Demon simply has bad cinematography and bad audio recordings, and that's an understatement. Video was obviously shot by amateurs to save money and audio was probably sourced from a single omni-directional microphone on top of the camera. Omni-directional microphones pick up every ambient noise so you will hear birds chirping or planes flying over head with more clarity than the actors and dialogue. Dialogue is so inconsistent during the feature that there are times when the actors sound like they are in wind tunnels when they are outside.

In summary, the homemade short Turn Around represents a better technical experience than Demon.

Extras [Rating: 0]

Screener DVD included none.

Overall [Rating: 0.5]

Homemade movies like Turn Around are made with love, and devotion. The kids behind the making of Turn Around love what they are doing, regardless of their no-budget limitations.  They have no formal training but are, at the very least, passionate about making their movie. Furthermore, I bet they know their target audience - Mom, Dad, friends, and family.

Demon, on the other hand, is devoid of passion, skill, and purpose. It is a film made for no one except those who made it.

Part of me feels it's unfair to criticize something so amateur. I do not criticize my 3-year-old son if he colors outside the lines. Likewise, I would never criticize the children of Turn Around for making their home movie. I would simply encourage them to get better at making movies if it was a true passion. If Demon were made by children I would say the same thing. But it was not made by children, which makes it that much more tragic. It is unfathomable to think that adults were involved in producing something this inept and expect to get paid for their work.

In the end, watch Demon if you want, but it should probably be treated no differently than childhood homemade movies. I don’t recommend wasting your money, but if you must, gather your friends in the living room, or outside for an outdoor movie marathon. Cook some hot dogs, drink lots of beers, and try to laugh through this amateur mess.

About the author: James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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