The indie horror movie Demon Resurrection (2008) first came to my attention by way of a review posted by Steven Shaw at Watching The Dead. Steven's review piqued my interest, and I left a comment on his post expressing my desire to see the movie for myself. I was surprised when shortly thereafter writer/director William Hopkins contacted me to offer a screener of Demon Resurrection for Movies At Dog Farm to review. How could I possibly refuse a guy stumping for his own movie at a grassroots level, right? Why would I? Well, here's the rub...
I made a choice early in the development of this website not to accept or review movie screeners. I'm too lazy to keep up with solicitations, and I feel obliged if I honor one to honor them all. There aren't that many, mind you, but enough that I can imagine spending a disproportionate amount of time feeling obliged to accommodate them. Plenty of websites choose to promote new movies almost exclusively, and God bless 'em. It's just not my thing.
Also - and perhaps more importantly - I'm not qualified to review movies anyway. I've never made a movie, I've never helped anyone make a movie, and I've never been on the set of a movie. I've never even taken a class in film studies. I'm not above sharing my unschooled opinion of the oldies, but I'm not comfortable with critically assessing the merits of a new release, particularly not an indie. Ripping on thirty year old horror movies is one thing, but dumping all over a struggling filmmaker with my ill-informed evaluation of a project into which he only recently poured his heart and soul is another.
Having established via this absurdly long-winded intro why I don't review movie screeners - and further, why I'm not really qualified to review movies at all - the time has come for me to review Demon Resurrection anyway. You see, I got lucky. I had difficulty getting the screener link to play on my PC's media streamer, and so I ultimately purchased a download of Demon Resurrection. My reservations about reviewing a free screener were greatly diminished once I ponied up four bucks and became a paying customer. Guess what? It turns out all of my hand-wringing about accepting that screener and then feeling obliged to review with kid gloves was unnecessary. I had a blast watching Demon Resurrection.
I don't like tap dancing around spoiler territory, so I'm going to attempt instead to describe how viewing Demon Resurrection made me feel. You see, Demon Resurrection took me back to a simpler time when low budget horror was content to just have fun with a premise.
In this case, that premise revolves around a young woman named Grace (Alexis Golightly) who has unwittingly found herself ensnared in the machinations of a cult. Lest I be misunderstood, Demon Resurrection has fun with this premise in the most sober, stone-faced fashion imaginable. Low budget be damned, it makes you wait for the good stuff - nudity, graphic violence, rubber monsters, magic - while it laboriously sets the stage with an initial thirty minutes or so that doesn't quite avoid playing out like the exposition dump it is.
Still, even at this stage one can't help but notice the professionalism underlying the delivery of that exposition. Demon Resurrection looks like a real movie. It was obviously made for pocket change, but it was made by a cast and crew that knows how to make the most of the resources available. I've got almost no tolerance for the do it yourself "we'll figure it out as we go" vibe that micro-budgeted movies often display. I've got better things to do with my time than watch someone's home movies. Thankfully, Demon Resurrection does a fine job of side-stepping that vibe by properly lighting, framing, and editing the obligatory exposition. It's still dry as dust, but it's handsomely assembled.
More importantly, though, Demon Resurrection ultimately delivers on the promise of the set-up. Once it finally gets rolling, it's a non-stop gallop to the end. The gory set pieces and choreographed action never lets up. I was reminded of the first time I saw Evil Dead (1981), another movie that meanders a bit before finding its footing. Demon Resurrection never quite reaches the hysterical highs of Evil Dead, but it's made with the same kind of creativity and ingenuity that shines through its limitations.
I said earlier that I would describe how Demon Resurrection made me feel, and so I will. It made me feel like a kid again, a horror loving kid still unsophisticated enough to look past the shortcomings as long as the movie ultimately delivers the goods. Demon Resurrection delivers. I felt as though I'd happened upon a particularly good late night horror flick on TNT MonsterVision. I didn't keep track of the numbers for the obligatory Drive-In Totals, but I'll guarantee Demon Resurrection has enough general Horror Fu on display to make it a worthy addition to your watch list.
One final note: I've repeatedly referred to Demon Resurrection as a new release despite its 2008 production date. Owing to what director Hopkins describes as "a less than entirely successful attempt at self-distribution", the movie is only now beginning to enjoy a wider release. You can purchase Demon Resurrection on DVD at www.demonresurrection.com, or you can opt instead for instant gratification and get the download.
Thanks, Mr. Hopkins, for sharing Demon Resurrection with me. Though I still harbor reservations about accepting and reviewing screeners, I have no reservations whatsoever about recommending an entertaining movie. Well done. Just don't send more screeners. I can't bear the pressure.