Do we ever really escape the effects of tragedy and terror? 

According to the urban dictionary, a dementer is someone that attracts negative spiritual energies and entities. 

After escaping a harrowing experience with a cult, Katie (Katie Groshong) is now desperately trying to survive the lingering and traumatic effects of PTSD.

She finds some solace taking a position as a caregiver at a center for patients with special needs. But soon, the sinking feeling that one of her patients, Stephanie (Stephanie Kinkle), is the target of devils. Katie is thrust back into the trauma of her past in an attempt to save Stephanie.

Chad Crawford Kinkle‘s new film DEMENTER is a film that will upset you. It is similar to his first film Jugface and certainly exists in that same universe.

As much as the trappings of devils and cult play out, it is more than a horror film. It is an examination of the residual effects of a terrifying event and how that influences the rest of someone’s life.

The cast is effective. Katie Groshong (Jugface) delivers another strong film performance, and as our gateway into this descent, she matches her growing paranoia with realness and intensity that allows the viewer access to the darkness of how past events can leave a residual of terror.

Stephanie Kinkle brings a layer of innocence to her performance that transcends her real-life condition that is equally powerful. The rest of the cast, including Brandy Edmiston, is equally convincing.

Kinkle effectively builds the tension while we follow Katie as she discovers clues that seem to be pulling her back into the past. She is forced to face her demons to prevent the same fate from preying on the most innocent of victims. Using symbols from a weird sketchbook, Katie creates her own ritualistic services to try and ward away the evil. But her efforts seem to fail as the innocent Stephanie slowly gets more and more ill. As the viewer, we are torn. Is this her fault? Is she a catalyst? Is something dark and demonic happening again? Is this real?

DEMENTER surrounds and ultimately traps the viewer within shadows and gloominess that will stay with them. It is that residual darkness that is the most upsetting.

J. Michael Roddy
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