Thursday, December 15, 2016

[Review] Demon

Ah, there's nothing like a demonic possession on your wedding day.

If you're a fan of this year's great, slow-burning horror film The Witch, then the late Marcin Wrona's Demon should be right up your alley. Based on Jewish folklore involving an entity called "The Dybbuk", this Polish film is an artfully shot, sharply written, and straight-up insane tale.

Set in a drab, hazy frown of a town where it definitely seems like some kind of evil could manifest, the film follows Peter (Itay Tiran), a man on the verge of marrying his fiance Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska). While surveying land for the house they plan to fix up, Peter stumbles upon a pile of bones, and let's just say he begins to experience some very strange symptoms during the wedding celebration. Either he's possessed by a malevolent spirit or it's the worst case of cold feet ever.

Given the dark and serious setup, it's surprising how funny the tone of this thing actually is--from its wry dialogue to its mirthfully absurdist humor. When the sickness first starts coming on, it plays more like a sweaty bout of the diarrhea runs, or the result of way too much vodka (or both at the same time). The film isn't all that intense or scary, per se. It's more of an exercise in intrusive madness, although the creepy factor does ramp up a bit during second half. Much credit goes to the screechy musical score and Itay Tiran's committed performance as he goes into full lurch mode. It's just really amusing to see how this whole debacle unfolds. Talk about wedding horror stories...

But buried deep beneath the surface of it all is a solemn spell of tragic history and old haunts that continue to linger and linger. Demon, indeed.

( 8/10 )

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