e-Demon is a found footage horror flick that takes place from the viewpoint of a computer screen much like the Unfriended films. The basic plot is an Anonymous like hacktivist group has come into possession of a screen recording of four friends having a group webchat which captures an incident known as the quad murders, in which an evil electronic demon is unleashed onto the world, possessing anyone it comes across.
The movie starts with the premise that these guys and gal are a group of twisted practical jokers. This leads to the basis of the plot – screwing around with evil things and accidentally releasing a dark force. This setup keeps you guessing if the things that are happening on the Webcam feeds are real, or part of an elaborate practical joke.
There is always something going on, with four or more Webcams active in the chat and at times text messaging, web browsing and even some light graphics work being carried out on the screen.
This is not a particularly scary film, with a dash of gore and sexuality thrown in for simple shock value. Still the killing and sexual scenes are quite brutal in idea – this is not a fun horror movie for a younger audience. The possession is very tame, there’s no spinning heads or crawling up walls and onto the ceilings. It’s typically someone on a Webcam asking the person on the other end to look into their eyes followed by some blank staring.
The acting is good, with only a few times it felt like an actor was out of the moment or overacting, which is something that comes with the territory of a low budget with less time available for prep and production, but the pacing of the film allows it to quickly recover.
Credit is due to the script for making something that may seem tedious and boring actually quite intriguing. But this is clearly a movie that owes its main success to the post work done with editing and the very polished and clean special effect of the computer desktop.
There’s also a website tie-in, something that’s not uncommon in the found footage genre, going back to the original Blair Witch. I do like these tie-ins that build up the fake movie universe in our universe as if the film had really happened. The site edemonresistancenetwork.com – they’re you’ll find a website that goes along with the premise of how the footage is being released and why. Unfortunately I think the marketing text for this flick gives too much away and kind of ruins the intrigue setup in the first act, so I would recommend going into this as blind as possible.
And intriguing is a good way to describe this movie. It’s not a very scary movie, it doesn’t build suspense in that way, I could care less if any of these people live, die or are possessed by the e-Demon. What this movie does is make you lean in, not only to read the small text on the computer screen, but to figure out what in the hell is going on. Which brings me to what makes this movie really interesting and why half way through I realized I was watching it all wrong.
This film is the epitome of an Internet/YouTube rabbit hole. And the best way to watch this is as such, on your computer with your headphones on. If you commit to the idea that this is something you’ve stumbled across on YouTube late at night it really creates a much better viewing atmosphere and experience. Not to mention you won’t need to be getting up to study the small elements of text or images on the screen, and I have a large television but computer screens are designed for close up viewing, and this movie fortunately or unfortunately stays inline with that design aesthetic.
That being said I did notice somethings that took me out of the film, but I did have to watch closely to see them, such as these people have amazing typing skills, sometimes typing text messages to each other with one hand and no need to look at their monitors. They also have some of the most amazing wireless Webcams that they take all over the house, get in their car drive down the street without any connection loss.
By the end of the film things have also gotten a little too far out of hand, to the point where it feels like this thing wouldn’t be able to be kept under wraps and it would be far too late to release this footage for anyone’s good.
Everything does get explained though, so at least the flick doesn’t leave you hanging.
Director/writer Jeremy Wechter has crafted a very compelling film with all the intrigue and the website tie in kind of gives it a J.J. Abrahms-esque feel, and definitely someone that I’m going to be keeping an eye out for in the future.
Director: Jeremy Wechter
Stars: Julia Kelly, John Anthony Wylliams, Christopher Daftsios