September 5, 2014

Demon Resurrection (2008) - The Dog Farm Wrestles Its Own Demons Regarding Movie Screener Reviews

Demon Resurrection (2008) poster

     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.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip one

      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.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip two

     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.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip three

     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.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip four

     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, 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.


  1. Here's another film I will have to hunt down courtesy of you! Nudity? Sold. Gore? Sold! Plasti-demons? Bought and paid for!

    And hold tight to your standards! Keeping things real makes a huge difference, especially in a media such as the internet in where we are told to trust no one.

    I will comment further on this more when I see this one.

    And I wish Mr. Hopkins all the success he can have with this film and the countless many to come! Everyone help pull for the underdog!

    1. Life's too short to write about movies you don't enjoy. I think that having to slog through the first tedious thirty minutes or so and then being rewarded for my patience just pressed all the right nostalgia buttons for me. Demon Resurrection is its own beast, but it really gave me the sense of having stumbled upon a better-than-expected late night spook show on cable back in the day. If it was universally available on Netflix, it would be ideal for the Virtual Drive-In.

      I initially told Hopkins that I'd be posting this as part of this year's Pre'Ween slate, but I decided it would be better for him and the movie if I put it out there a little earlier. Now everyone has time to order a copy before October. I have no real confidence in the solitary marketing might of Movies At Dog Farm, but hopefully he'll see at least a tiny uptick in sales.

      I should have also noted that Hopkins isn't a noob. He had a hand in the story used for Children Of The Night (1991). I remember seeing Children Of The Night way, way back. If I'm remembering correctly, I think it was one of a handful of movies produced under the aegis of Fangoria when they first flirted with the notion of producing their own movies in the early nineties. He also wrote and directed his own video vampire flick called Sleepless Nights (2002). He's been at it for a while, so I hope he sees some success with Demon Resurrection.

  2. Crap I have become a whore for the free stuff, once my site was filled with cool and interesting things... sometimes it is still. I have become a media wheel promoting pretty much everything that roles my way, but I have to receive a full dvd/blu-ray non of this streaming stuff. I like to hold it see, see the extras and pile them up in the corner of my office. I find that I have to like or find something to like about everything, even if I don't... though I like lots of weird stuff. So you got a film, soundtrack/score, in a band... well dammit send me a copy...


    1. It's tempting to take the hand-outs. I considered back when I first started the Dog Farm trying to make a more concentrated effort to land myself on a few promo lists, but I'm glad I never got in the habit. It's easy to just see it as a perk, and God knows most bloggers don't see too many of those in exchange for all their time and effort. Stuff is cool. There's a bit of an ego boost there, too. Ultimately it just means I'm working for someone else, though, and I already do that elsewhere for forty hours a week. I obviously don't have an ironclad rule against it, but it's better for me if I at least try to make it the exception rather than the rule. In this case I genuinely enjoyed the movie, but what if I hadn't?

      Fortunately, I don't like spending my time writing about movies I don't enjoy. If I post about a movie, there's pretty much always something about that movie that appeals to me. If I don't have anything nice to say, I'd rather not say anything. I think perhaps some bloggers get off on the sense of empowerment that comes with ripping on a movie. I'd much rather try to just direct folks to movies I personally think are worthwhile. That's more constructive, right? And better for my karma, too.

      There's no clear right and wrong, though. I definitely look to reviews to warn me away from the duds, so that by definition means someone out there has to take the responsibility of writing about the bad ones, too.

      Thanks for commenting, Jeremy. It's comforting to know I'm not the only person who wrestles with this.

  3. I've been wanting to see get a hold of this one, and with your review I'll definitely have to track it down. Great writeup, looking forward to giving this one a watch!

    1. I know you're a big proponent of the indie flicks, JD. I believe you'll find a lot to like here. I wish I was a more proficient reviewer, but if you're interested in Demon Resurrection then I urge you to check the link to Steven Shaw's review. He does a much better job of analyzing the movie's strengths and weaknesses than I do. He's also more adept at summarizing the narrative without spoiling anything.

      ...or I suppose you could just watch it and write your own review. I'm sure Mr. Hopkins would appreciate the exposure. ;)

  4. This looks like a fun one and I love seeing movies where the people involved are having a blast making it. Brandon, you dont need to have any film degree or have worked on any film to write up how you feel about it. This is a horror film and you have seen tons of movies from that genre. That was your school. If you only reviewed costumed dramas then did this one. It would be a little off, but in no way should you think that you are not qualified to review screeners.

    1. Thanks, Vern. I'm still getting "schooled" by the horror genre on a regular basis. Weirdly, I think I often organize my thoughts about a movie as well or better than I do in the post after I've been challenged in the Comments section. Maybe I'm more inclined to debate. Responding to someone else sets the gears in motion.

      I should find a conspirator to write the proper review first, and then I could just write the post responding to it, point/counterpoint style. "Fighting Like Cats And Dogs" maybe? I was born to be the dick with the dissenting point of view. lol

  5. Only just read your overly kind words and I loved your write up / review, with your clearly loving the film for all the same reasons I did. (Though you put it better!)

    I'm actually in the same boat re. freebies feeling under pressure to like the film if someone involved has gone to all the trouble to actually contact me about it. This is especially true if it's clear they're not making a lot of money off their troubles.

    In the 2/3 years I've been reviewing This was the third screener I've received and the only one I've given an especially high mark. If I'm truthful I'm a bit of a collector. All the zombie films, yes 155+ I've reviewed I own on disc on the very format I list at the top; and all are kept together on a bookcase my wife makes me cover up when families with young kids come and stay with us (the spoil sport).

    Thanks again.

    1. You need an "old-dark-house" style bookcase with a candle holder next to it that you pull on to make your bookcase full of zombie movies spin around into the wall and reveal a few shelves full of Pixar movies!

      I've got a pretty ridiculous collection of discs myself, though I've yet to acquire a single hard copy screener to add to it. I don't enjoy writing about movies I don't like, except in the broadest of terms. The worst movie ever takes a shitload of people to produce, many of whom are undoubtedly very proud of what they've created. I'm too soft-hearted to enjoy ripping on that.

      Thanks for commenting, Steven!


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