REVIEW: Demon

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





REVIEW: Paranormal Activity

10 10 2009

Fear is a common emotion, and filmmakers constantly work to goad it out of us.  The horror genre is most likely to instigate the aforementioned sentiment, and directors often resign to employing quick thrills and flashy graphics to force it out of us.  But with four actors, one camera, and $10,000, Oren Peli has shown that fear can be found in even the most ordinary places.  He conceived “Paranormal Activity” out of his own fear, stating,

“I think a lot of people can relate to the question of what happens at night when you’re most vulnerable.  You have no idea what’s going on.  This taps into the most primal fear, if something is lurking in your home and there’s not much you can do about it.”

Peli’s vision of horror is nothing short of brilliant, finding the surreal in the real and the paranormal in the normal.  The result is a truly terrifying experience for audiences.

The story revolves around the haunting of couple “engaged to be engaged” Micah and Katie.  We enter the story in medias res as they are beginning to deal with the suspicious incidents occurring in their home.  A psychic tells them that the culprit is most likely a demon that has followed Katie since childhood and something has occurred to aggravate the spirit.  Although Micah laughs off the opinion, Katie is deeply bothered and scared.  Micah purchases an expensive camera set in hopes of capturing the demon on film, and the entire movie is told from the vantage point of the camera lens.  As the days go by, events seem to point towards the validity of the psychic’s opinion.  But will the camera capture anything other than a distraught and disturbed couple?

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