[Movie Review] SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON

[Movie Review] SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON
SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON l Shudder
Ahhh, your mid-twenties. A time of experimentation, solidifying goals, and figuring out who you are. For some people, this is a stage of life that’s generally enjoyable. For others…not so much.

Take Will, for example: a guy in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. He’s working a dead-end job as a customer service rep for a toothpaste company, has a string of abandoned hobbies, and doesn’t seem to have clear-cut goals or ambitions for his future. Well, he really likes baking, but his shot at a career in that space is iffy at best.

When his driven and accomplished girlfriend Amy dumps him after one too many disappointments, he needs to move out of their shared apartment and find a new place to live, stat. He lands on a house that the Sellers are renting out. It’s big, fully furnished, and shockingly in his price range.

It’s also occupied by some unlisted tenants: a few ghosts and a demon named Deomonous.

Suddenly, Will finds himself in the middle of a bizarre conflict between Deomonous, the house spirits, and the homeowners. With the help of Amy, his lifelong best friend Patrick, and Patrick’s work friend/crush Aimee, who spiritually cleansed homes in college, Will fights for his soul and the souls of his friends—and confronts his own demons along the way.

On the surface, SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON (written and directed by Emily Hagins) is a horror-comedy about demons, possession, and haunted houses. But you don’t have to dive too deep to understand what the film is actually about: the specific strain of uncertainty surrounding adulthood endemic to younger millennials and older Gen Zers, with a twist of commentary about the housing market. But what makes this film so successful is the fact that Hagins doesn’t beat the audience over the head with the central message. Hagins wrote an outstanding film that perfectly balances humor and heart. Every line of dialogue is believable, even when the conversation is about cleansing spaces and making bargains with demons.

The script is brought to life by a cast that clearly had a fun time with the material. Jon Michael Simpson stars as the hapless and self-deprecating Will, sharing the screen with Jeff McQuitty, Paige Evans, and Olivia Ducayen, who portray Patrick, Amy, and Aimee, respectively. Evans and Simpson, as the central couple/non-couple/maybe-couple, play off of each other with an almost uncomfortable level of realism. Their characters have history. Not all of it is good and not all of it is bad. They’ve had fun together, but they’ve also disappointed and hurt each other. They may have grown apart but they still care about each other.

Simpson and McQuitty’s characters also have a relationship that feels authentic. The two actors bring a sense of ease and familiarity as they deliver the script’s jabs and jokes.

Ducayen’s performance as newcomer Aimee is notable as well. She endears herself to the audience from her first appearance, especially when she oh-so-casually drops the line about her character’s experience with the spirit realm.

We can’t not talk about the Sellers family. Sarah Cleveland and Dave Peniuk play parents Tammy and Ken Sellers with brilliant comedic timing, working in tandem to both infuriate viewers while also winning some sympathy for their unfortunate situation. Jude Zapalla, in his role as the teenaged Jake Sellers, is an instantly-likable slacker type against his uptight parents. The family unit is complete with the youngest child Grace Sellers—who is possessed by Deomonous. Grace is played by Presley Allard, whose portrayal is reminiscent of the classic possessed kids who came before her while also entirely fresh and original.

And then, of course, to round out the film, we have the creepy and entertaining performances of Tony Vespe as the voice of Deomonous and Kristen MacCulloch and Scout Flint as the house’s resident ghosts.

From the intro to the end credits, SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON is a fun and engaging ride. If you’re looking for a new horror-comedy that’s actually worth watching (and worth watching more than once), this film is sure to satisfy.

SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON will be streaming exclusively on Shudder on January 19, 2022.

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