A detective at the heart of a string of ritualistic murders discovers there’s more than meets the eye in Uncork’d Entertainment's The Demonologist.
Billed as a throwback to Satanic movies of old, this low-budget thriller is more of a campy regression than a unique development of the subgenre. Written and directed by J.M. Stelley and starring Brian Krause (Charmed, Sleepwalkers), the story follows Damian (get the reference?), a detective who is trying to solve the mystery of several murders that all have the calling card of a satanic cult. Along the way, the audience is invited into Damian’s mind as he relives his traumatic past which is slowly revealed as he gets deeper into the investigation. During this time, the cult in question are attempting the summon the four King Demons of Hell, led by the devilishly sexy Meredith (Manon Pages).
As interesting as the concept may sound, unfortunately the film never hits the ground running due to its overbearing and long-winded exposition-heavy plot. For a film of this nature, audiences are better off putting the pieces of the puzzle together themselves (with some help from characters' reactions and discoveries) rather than having their hand held with heavy and lazy dialogue explaining the plot.
When it comes to the special effects, however, for an independent film, the practical effects are solid. Some of the cultists are old and withered with sagging skin, and the demons look convincing. The performances of our antagonists are slightly over the top and theatrical in places, but The Demonologist sticks to a consistent tone throughout. Krause puts his all into his performance as Damian and certainly enhances the otherwise lacklustre script.
Even at a 100 minute runtime, the film feels far too persistent. The long, dialogue-heavy scenes tend to suck the life out of what is otherwise a solid demon story, along with the moderately jarring audio and visual editing cuts which sadly make some segments feel like a chore to sit through.
At the end of the day, The Demonologist is a solid but heavily flawed take on classic Satanic films such as Devil’s Rain or Prince of Darkness, with strong performances that manage to keep a flimsy dialogue-heavy script afloat for its hefty runtime.
THE DEMONOLOGIST / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: J.M. STELLY / STARRING: BRIAN KRAUSE, MANON PAGES, JARED BANKENS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW