The web-chat style of horror/found-footage isn’t exactly that innovate anymore. We’ve had Hacked (also known as The Den) in 2013, Unfriended in 2014 and to some degree, Smiley in 2012. As well as many variations like Friend Request in 2016 that deal with the ills of the internet and social media.
Hit and miss, it’s tough to make this style of movie scary and engaging as there is often so much going on at once. All while using the standard found-footage format. e-Demon is no different. However, thanks to some effective moments, good acting and an interesting story, e-Demon is a memorable watch.
Coming from director Jeremy Wetcher, the story follows four friends as they Skype each other one evening. A mix of hazing each other with pranks and just catching up, one member of the group gets his elderly grandmother to tell a tale of a chest that supposedly houses a demon. This chest is upstairs in his attic and he shows the rest of the group, using it to play a prank. However, when a mirror inside the chest is broken it unleashes a viral demon that can possess people through their digital cameras.
Cue a night of horrific acts as each watcher either gets possessed or gets attacked by family members. At first what just seems like elaborate pranks quickly turns extremely dark. Only through the screen and messages can the group find some way to stop the demonic virus from spreading. Will they succeed or will they all fall victim to its evilness?
Well, thanks to an ‘anonymous’ style intro where we’re told about the footage were about to watch, we know from the start that no-one is going to survive. While I understand that this intro and the outro is to try and add weight to the ‘realness’ of the events, it doesn’t work. Instead coming across really cheesy, quite the opposite to the tone of the movie.
In fact, as the horror gets going it starts to take on the form of something like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ particularly at the finale.
Strong acting from believable characters helps make e-Demon an effective horror. It does feel like we’re watching actual interactions between friends. How they behave at the start adds a lot of weight to how they react to certain events. John Anthony Wylliams who plays Dwayne deserves special mention. Simply for not playing up to the usual horror tropes and proving to be a character most can bond with.
Demonic possession isn’t ripe for new ideas and e-Demon doesn’t offer any but it does have some disturbing and unsettling moments. This isn’t a movie that offers much in the way of hope. By the end it will leave you feeling quite despondent. Some might find the ending disappointing but not unexpected. Not everything needs a happy ending and e-Demon certainly didn’t need it.
e-Demon is good, better then expected and utilises the web-chat/found footage style effectively.