Directed by: #ColinBressler
Cultists in films…what can we say? The cultist sub-genre, once incredibly prevalent in the 60s and 70s (with movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Wickerman and The Omen all being hugely popular) seemed to duck out of mainstream demand for many years. But now, thanks to some well-received indie films (the recently released Satanic Panic and Apartment 1BR have both done very well), as well as the more high-profile pieces, like Ari Aster’s Midsommar and Hereditary, we’ve seen a considerable resurgence. Unfortunately, much like Hereditary – a film which Remy’s Demons borrows quite heavily from – I can’t say I’m a big fan.
The film borrows copiously from both Hereditary and Psycho, the vibes of which are apparent from the start. The sense of predetermined fate and overtly creepy Mother-Son relationship, in particular, as a young Remy seemingly summons a dark entity into his house during one of his Mother’s (Magda Porter) occult rituals. Now, as a 40-year-old autistic man, still living at home with his overbearing, but now terminally ill Mother, Remy (Jason Scarborough) makes a living by using his inherited clairvoyant abilities to contact entities in “the dark world” on guided tours of haunted locations. But, after the tragically inevitable death of his Mother (a life extinguished, like the flame of a candle), demons, literal and figurative, begin to haunt Remy and those close to him.
The film’s cast, much like its construction, is a hodgepodge of competency and misfires; of solid performances and occasional wooden delivery. By and large, the central cast does an excellent job in portraying their characters, with Scarborough and Love putting in terrific sympathy-inducing performances. Some side characters, however, do pose problems, mainly in the way their characters are written and (don’t) develop. The story writing overall is inarticulate, messy and contrived: many of the film’s occurrences seemingly come out of nowhere, don’t seem to go anywhere, and feel tacked on to fill time. And at one and three-quarter hours in length, that’s too much filler, and it makes the movie drag on for far too long. There are some decent scares though, especially during Aunt Mildred’s (Angelita Aronce Sorensen) scenes.
As I said, Remy’s Demons didn’t wow me. Not by a long shot. But I can really appreciate what the filmmakers tried to achieve here. The fact is the movie is at its best when it’s ambiguity is allowed to take centre stage - the parallels drawn between the dark entity haunting Remy’s house and the characters’ personal demons shows much potential. But, in the end, it’s just not enough. Remy’s Demons is a bold but deeply flawed attempt at doing something different with the cultist sub-genre of horror, and it should be applauded for its efforts, at least in that regard.