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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Demonic (2021)

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Well this is a surprise. What is Neill Blomkamp doing here? This doesn't seem like his kind of thing at all. From District 9, Elysium and Chappie, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the last project on which you would find his name at the helm. Obviously, my anticipation stepped up a little and I actually started to pay attention.

Anybody that remembers The Cell starring Jennifer Lopez will no doubt be reminded of that here. As a daughter is neurologically implanted into the brain of her previously estranged comatose mother to try and communicate with her, with the aid of some as yet unheard of super-science, the story really begins.

Blomkamp retains his signature uncompromising gritty undertones here with most of the sets dilapidated, weathered or crumbling, much like her mothers mind, perhaps. When I realised he was in charge I assumed that this was filmed at home in South Africa, but discovered that this was actually recorded in secret during COVID-19 in Canada.

Lead Carly Pope plays a role that you easily imagine the likes of Noomi Rapace taking on earlier in her career. It is demanding on a number of physical as well as emotional levels, something Rapace excelled at the time of making The Girl trilogy.

After dropping into her mothers subconscious a couple of times, it begins to become clear that all is not as it seems and the title of the project begins to make sense. At the same point, the admirably neat idea of the film reverts to type and it becomes more familiar possession fare.

There is cinematic flair here if you're looking for it and you can tell someone of Blomkamp's skill are at work in its direction, at least. The acting is fair, though never outstanding and the script suffers in the second and third acts. Kudos to Blomkamp for taking something on out of his comfort zone, even if he also wrote it, but unfortunately it shows.


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