Sorry About the Demon (Horror, Comedy) (2022)
Director: Emily Hagins
Writer: Emily Hagins
Stars: Jon Michael Simpson, Paige Evans, Jeff McQuitty, Olivia Ducayen
Renting a manor house after breaking-up with his girlfriend, a young man is perplexed to discover the residence is haunted by demonic spirits.
In her latest horror comedy, Emily Hagins satirises films such as "The Exorcist". Despite experience in making such a farcical horror, it's a bold creative decision, to be sure. It's been filmed in Toronto, Canada and produced by Paper Street Pictures, Hangar 18 Media and Blood Oath while being distributed by Shudder.
During the night, Ken and Tammy Sellers (Dave Peniuk and Sarah Cleveland) are awoken by their young daughters' screams. As they rush to their daughter's room, they find her possessed by a demon called Deomonous (Tony Vespe). After some negotiation, they're convinced to a deal, which is delivering a human sacrifice to it so that their child's soul is left alone.
Life can move in unexpected ways. As one door closes, another opens. Here, they keep opening and closing constantly to the severe frustration of Will (Jon Michael Simpson), but at least he makes friends along the way, discovering through obstacles what is truly important in life.
While appearing similar to sit-coms, Hagins' comedy horror exhibits quirky humour that could be ideal for specific audiences. It's not hard to enjoy some "The Exorcist" satire, but when we reach the break-up of Simpson's Will and Evans' Amy, some awkward drag is unavoidable, which isn't meant as in Will dressing up as a woman.
Allowing "Sorry About the Demon" some time to develop, the most comedic value is found in Simpson's deadpan delivery and lackadaisical attitude as Deomonous constantly tries to spite him. Later introduced friends of Will compare decently, giving enough to work within the degree needed in such a film, vaguely reminiscent of Scooby-Doo hijinks and ghost exorcisms. The few running gags it has do wear out eventually, and perhaps Hagins could've constrained the running time a bit.
If some effort and budget were set aside to hire experienced screenwriters, the theme and narrative could've provided a more chiselled end result as, regrettably, "Sorry About the Demon" often misses the mark and lacks instances of accurate comedic timing.
Even with the downsides, as mentioned, Hagins' feature could appeal to certain audiences open to more low-budget relaxed projects such as presented. It does stick with the narrative reasonably well, barely side-tracked by sub-plots. It fits within its niche, as long as you don't expect too much but a cheesy yet mediocre haunting.
Sorry about the script.