Studio: Brain Damage Films
Director: Rob Walker
Writer: Bernie Felix Jr.
Producer: Luis F. Montalvo, Rob Walker
Stars: Jasmine Waltz, Michael Placencia, Bill Houskeeper, Joel D. Wynkoop, Michele L’Amourt
An FBI agent investigates a series of bizarre deaths reportedly linked to the legendary chupacabra.
If Bruce Banner were an independent horror filmmaker routinely working with small budgets, he could turn into The Incredible Hulk at will simply by thinking about “Demon.” It is already a maddening experience to toil without the promise of reward on a passion project that might be high on quality, yet low on marketable interest. But to see something as amateurish as “Demon” secure distribution and make it to the assembly line of a disc manufacturing facility has to be infuriating for any struggling filmmaker still desperate for a deal.
Forget about not knowing how to make a movie. “Demon” looks as if it were made by people who have never even seen a movie.
Search high and low in both the title cards and the end credits and one will notice that no one is credited as having written the film. That either confirms suspicions that “Demon” was made up as it went along or whoever was responsible for the printed page portion of this disaster actually had enough sense to redact his name. For the record, IMDB blames someone named Bernie Felix Jr.
Whether ad-libbed or intentional, the dialogue is as dismal as everything else about the production. Jasmine Waltz is FBI Agent Nicole Diaz, sent to Florida to investigate a series of deaths rumored to be the work of a scientifically altered chupacabra. She is a hardnosed stickler for protocol, evidenced by the way she takes command from a local sheriff by proclaiming, “you can’t move bodies, that’s in-, you know, interfering with a crime scene.” Why bother with a second take when an actor stumbles over a line, right?
Her boss is more dimwitted. When Agent Diaz briefs her superior on the mysterious murders and her suspicions of a monster, he responds with a sincere, “have you been drinking again?” Seeing as how this scene takes place in a bar and a fruit garnished cocktail is plainly in her hand, let us hope he has more to offer the FBI than keen powers of observation.
“Demon” knows that it has nothing worth hearing, which must be why the audio either makes conversations altogether inaudible or has everyone sounding as if they are talking through cardboard toilet paper tubes. Scenes set near trees sound as if they take place in the middle of an aviary during a recreation of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” A carpenter sawing wood provides the sound of the creature breathing. The engines of every airplane that passed overhead during filming make a cameo on the soundtrack. Flies can even be heard buzzing around the microphone, which at least shows that the production had one pointed somewhere, although it was definitely not towards the actors.
Another scene is drowned out by the sound of raindrops. It is the only scene that takes place in the rain and it lasts just 40 seconds. Was the shooting schedule so tight and grueling that they could not wait for the rain to stop or find another place to stage this? Most of the settings, and for that matter the plot points, are arbitrary anyway.
Every now and again, the camera briefly plops onto a tripod or some other stable anchor. Most times though, it is a jittery mess. Angles are set up according to wherever everything happened to land. Color temperature changes as much as four times in a single scene. Some shots are not lit at all. Others are like looking into the sun. Note that the preceding comments only apply to the scenes where the viewer can actually even make out what is going on. On the technical front, either no one on “Demon” knew what s/he was doing, or no one cared.
“Demon” is to cinema what backyard whiffle ball is to sports. Blackmail is the only explanation for how it ended up sold at a professional level. Either that, or someone bet he could put anything on a disc, call it a movie, and get people to buy/rent/watch it. I would not be at all surprised to find out that someone is laughing somewhere about having pulled this off as a joke. Good for him on winning that wager. The loser? Anyone who gives even one minute of energy to this movie, which would be one minute more than the filmmakers gave.
Review Score: 0