31 10 2016

demonThe scariest horrors, as most well-schooled viewers know, comes not from momentary jumps but from a force burrowing deep into our subconscious that unearths painful truths. It’s those stories that recognize our biggest threats may not be from without, but from within, that haunt us. Marcin Wrona’s “Demon,” a taut tale of a despondent past casting a nasty shadow over a joyous celebration of the future, is one such film.

Buñuel-like in its fixation on a wedding that no one seems able to end, “Demon” follows the steady digression of marital bliss into nuptial nightmare. The groom, Itay Tiran’s Peter, enters not only into a domestic partnership but also into a Polish lineage that places a high value on the family home. That same house – the site of their union, no less – seems intent on denying him entrance. An edifice slowly becomes a character as bad omens eventually escalate into the release of a dybbuk, the scorned spirit of a dead loved one.

“There’s no man without society, and no society without memory,” advises a professorial family member during a toast. It’s a nugget of wisdom that inebriated attendees ignore at their own peril since the dictum later feels like a warning for all that is to come. Peter’s attempts to overhaul certain quaint aspects of the house prove his downfall, as renovations awaken the specter of the Holocaust both as a spirit battling him as well as within the memories of those around him. While some of the energy peters out by the end of “Demon,” the encroaching dread as steadily filmed by the late Wrona still makes for a truly unnerving watch. B+3stars



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