Demonic (2015)

The always reliably entertaining Frank Grillo (imagine the Punisher we could have had!) finds himself stumbling onto an accident scene involving Dawson’s Creek, The Usual Suspects, and any generic ghost hunter show with The Haunting. Unfortunately there aren’t many survivors and the cops are trying to put the pieces of the event and meddling kids back together.

A ghost hunting group of twenty-somethings travel to a haunted house in the depths of Louisiana. The gaggle of cliches includes the stoic tech guy, a witch/medium/occult “specialist”, the ex-boyfriend, the current neurotic wreck, son of a survivor boyfriend, enthusiastic group leader, and the girlfriend. One happy seance later, they used good energy, and all hell breaks loose.

Ultimately Demonic plays as a ghost hunting and police procedural hampered by poor acting and vapid exposition. The scares are decent and the kills and setting are interesting enough to make the movie a worthwhile watch. The production values are good and Grillo is always fun to watch.

The question this movie raises with me is why is the occult always a nebulous thing. In a lot of these type of movies? The really exceptional movies pick one aspect and stick with it. The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Blair Witch Project, The Amityville Horror, The Dead Zone, The Serpent and the Rainbow, stuff like that. A wise man once told me to never cross the streams. It’s fairly good advice overall. I’m not saying being adventurous always disappoints but it rarely is something remarkable and often is completely forgettable. I’ve seen this twice now. I remember enjoying it as it played the first time but like before, I won’t remember it tonight.

Southern Fried Horror: Netherworld

No one you’ve heard of heats up the screen in this Full Moon feature. The action wastes no time as a young fellow dares enter Tonk’s Place. A bayou dive that is full service…and I mean full service… with roosters and snakes on the floor, drunks shooting up the fine establishment and ladies looking to take your mind off the fact you’re in a hillbilly version of a green inferno.

The clapboard establishment has a basement of working girls and a sub basement of some of that voudou hoodoo. The goods are protected by a flying concrete hand that soars from time its hidden labyrinth and crushes its victims skulls as it turns them into bird headed men from the adventures of John Mandeville.

Corey Thornton is the prodigal son of a plantation aristocrat who comes to inherit the estate. He is given the deceased’s instructions by a slightly mutated lawyer named Beauregard. He reads his father’s instructions on bringing him back to life without batting an eye. He is equally unflappable as the local jailbait openly propositions him in front of her mother. By now I would wonder what the Sam Hell was going on but Corey goes back to his pop’s journal where he describes his sexuality, kinks and exploits for his son in a dry, pseudo sociological manner.

The film moves from gothic setting to swampy backwater in predictable but entertaining fashion. Netherworld is almost the Cthulhu cult movie we’ve never gotten. It’s a Lovecraftian story seething with cosmic horror and a sexuality that was once repressed but has rages out of control due to the excesses of living and the dead. 4 stars for bayous, blues, Boobs and blood.