New Horror Releases: The Demon Inside (2017) - Reviewed

Available on VOD is the demonic possession film The Demon Inside, about a family dealing with a demon that is suddenly haunting their house. Despite following the standard tropes and containing some unexpected tonal shifts, this is a solid horror movie that combines the creepy with the comedic to offer up something that is a mashup of elements from the likes of The Conjuring, Paranormal Activity, and Evil Dead 2. It may not reach those lofty standards, but it does contain excellent camerawork and cinematography, fine performances from the cast, and an outstanding score that exemplifies how music can enhance a picture. 

The story is fairly by the books when it comes to the demonic possession subgenre. Following many popular franchise before it, we see similar tropes such as the skeptical husband and a ghost hunting team that attempts to help rid the family of the entity. It does manage to twist things upside down by shifting the tone, starting out as a straight horror film in the first act and then moving into a comical and almost satirical take on ghost hunting and the subgenre itself. These shifts may actually anger viewers and so it is important to know this in advance, as the trailers don’t indicate that there will be comedic elements. One great choice was to eliminate dialogue in several scenes, opting to use the score or no sound at all to create the mood. It was very effective. 

The directing and cinematography are superb for an indie horror movie, producing fantastic camera shots and angles that made for some interesting imagery. It should be no surprise really, since director Joey Moran and cinematographer Carlos Baker have both worked on a laundry list of big budget productions and blockbusters. There are many wonderful scenes that they let slowly develop, gradually moving the camera around or getting closer to the characters. There is some found footage camera elements that are incorporated for when the ghost team is filming, but it looks decent and works for the story. The lighting was exceptional, especially for the nighttime and darkly lit scenes. Often in productions like these, those scenes end up coming out way too dark and it’s hard to make out what is taking place. The use of blue and red hues in the dark scenes worked well, further enhancing the look and mood. The score from Wayne Ingram and Cameron McCoskaey was brilliant. The mixture of synth, strings, and piano help channel the intended tones for each scene, while also delivering an evocative mood during scenes that might not have had anything going on. 

The acting is surprisingly fantastic for an indie horror picture. The whole cast performs their respective parts exactly how they are needed to be portrayed, whether it be serious or intentionally over the top. Joseph Rene is Sam Parsons, the husband and most pivotal character of the cast. He is essentially the bridge between the tonal shifts that take place and does a fine job of adjusting to those changes. Madeline Thelton portrays his wife, Courtney Parsons. While she doesn’t have as much on screen time, she has a certain presence that demands the audience’s attention. Grace Patterson, Timothy Talbott, Jake Ryan Hall, Crystal Cook, John Kviklys, and Crew Wyard are delightful as the camp ghost hunting team called Ghost Killers. 

There are several moments that contain a decent amount of blood and violence, which is slightly comparable to Evil Dead 2 in scope and camp factor. The first act contains some nice creepy moments that should genuinely scare many viewers. This should be a sufficient amount of scares and violence to satisfy most horror fans. 

I ain't afraid of no ghost!

Overall, The Demon Inside is a fun ride if you enjoy comedy mixed with your horror. It includes genuine scares, a generous amount of blood, and some humor to boot.

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