A seemingly normal online video chat turns nasty in this technology-based supernatural horror tale of witchcraft and the devil as four friends unwittingly unleash the deadly E-Demon.
The horror genre is one that tends to evolve across generations in order to keep things fresh. This was most prevalent back in 2014 when Universal Pictures unleashed Unfriended to the masses, a film which took place entirely on one person’s laptop. To that extent, E-Demon takes a lot of ideas from its tech-thriller predecessor and, in some cases, manages to build upon this unique foundation.
The story follows four friends (Kendra, Dwayne, AJ and Mar) whose innocent video chat meetup takes a sinister turn after Mar decides to play a prank on his friends and open a “cursed trunk” in his attic. Little to his knowledge, the trunk actually contains a deadly demon who, after being released in our era, manages to adapt and begins possessing everyone, from the friends themselves to the police and paramedics, through the cameras in an attempt to unleash a physical form of the devil into our world.
What really makes E-Demon stand out in this subgenre is its full commitment to its direction right until the final act. The narrative embraces the history of Salem (where the film is set) and the witchcraft/demon connections, and keeps that at its core for the 86-minute runtime.
Unfortunately, the film falls into a trap of having to use some traditional horror tropes to get by including having a particular character that just so happens to be a specialist in demonology and can conveniently forward the story, acting solely as lazy exposition. To add to that, some glaring plot holes are nonchalantly glossed over, such as characters having head cams that conveniently have built in 4G and can work wherever they go, in the hope that the audience is caught up elsewhere to notice.
To its credit, E-Demon, even with a lack of licensing so that the YouTube and Facebook logos are blurred out, still manages to create tension through some interesting special effects. For example, at one point a character is possessed and as he moves off screen, it glitches, leaving a still image of him in the corner of his chat window. When he comes back and is free of possession, his former image is made to seem like the demon is looming over him waiting to strike.
Even with its downfalls, E-Demon is still a strong entry into this new subgenre of horror. It never strays from its original intentions and should be commended for trying something new. Credit should also go to director Jeremy Wechter and his team for creating a really unique end credit sequence which earns some bonus points. If you liked Unfriended then you will most certainly get much enjoyment from this one.
E-DEMON / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JEREMY WECHTER / SCREENPLAY: JEREMY WECHTER / STARRING: JULIA KELLY, JOHN ANTHONY WYLLIAMS, CHRISTOPHER DAFTSIOS, RYAN REDEBAUGH / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 14TH