FBI Special Agent Nicole Diaz is sent to the town of Oro Negro to solve several bizarre murders. At first, it’s thought the killings are random acts committed by smugglers or drug dealers until the Tribal Ranger realizes the bodies have been drained of blood and suspects it is something more.
I would much rather deal with the incompetence of a motion picture than that of say, a health care professional. The same could also be stated for police officers, airline pilots, and food service employees. Frankly, poor film making is the least of our day-to-day tribulations. This isn’t to say that enduring a terrible flick is a delightful experience, friends, but it is one of the few precious positives I can take away from the monster mush that is “Demon.”
Even the name of our latest offering shows a criminal lack of care and imagination from the cinematic offenders behind it. The “titular” beastie isn’t remotely a demon, but a genetically altered . . . alien? Chupacabra? “Watchers” wannabe? Many possibilities are thrown out there, but the term “demon” is never uttered as an option. More specifically, the creature is a vague bodysuit with hilariously ill-fitting claw gloves and foot boots, the latter of which constantly threaten to fall off at any given point in the action. However, the performer within the stuffy confines of the costume did portray a creepy body language in the less demanding moments. I may be grasping for proverbial straws in my compliments here, but damn it, I’m trying.
After a confusing cacophony of Spanish newscasts informs us of various animal mutilations and chupacabra (the only word I recognized) sightings, we’re suddenly thrust into an offensive conversation between two border guards on a reservation in southern Florida. I could have sworn this endless example of pointless dialogue was improvised by gentlemen who had neither acting experience nor a clue what the word “improvise” even means. The younger of the two spends the entire scene glancing down at his lap, where I could only surmise the film’s screenplay sat open to that page. Proof that a script may have actually existed? Either that, or he was obsessed with his own crotch.
After the dynamic duo is dispatched by what I gather from the shoddy camerawork must have been the opaque blue filter that chases them, we are introduced to our protagonist, F.B.I. Special Agent Nicole Diaz. Her boss informs her that she’s to report to the reservation to investigate the double homicide. Diaz happens to be a native of the region, a fact that serves no purpose other to incorporate a dull gravesite visit to a dead sibling and pass it off as character development. In her defense, Jasmine Waltz displays confidence in tough chick mode, and seems to be the only individual associated with the picture who gives a rat’s ass about the finished product.
Upon arrival, Diaz is met with hostility from the Sheriff (Joel D. Wynkoop), who randomly barks his lines at such an angry pitch, one wonders if dementia hasn’t long since set in. Little doubt is left when he uses the exact words “fancy-dressed, highfalutin” to describe the agent, though she’s wearing a tank top and clearly clad more casually than he is. Things move at a snail’s pace on to the coroner’s office, where the proceedings are interrupted by Dr. Carmen Madrid, portrayed by Toni Collette look-alike Michele L’Amourt. Madrid and her assistant Brian (Michael Placencia) inform Diaz that the specimen was enhanced in a government lab for combat purposes, and also carries a deadly airborne virus that will be released if it dies. This places our heroine in quite the pickle, as she regularly expresses her desire to put a bullet in the thing’s face.
During these scenes of unproductive bickering, more blurry attacks occur in the wilderness. Two teens meet their ends during a tame romp, and a middle-aged couple becomes a midday snack later on. In another example of lazy (more along the lines of comatose) writing, the husband claims to “know a shortcut” once they run out gas, though it’s been plainly established that they’re tourists who have never laid eyes on the area. It’s as if bard Bernie Felix Jr. refused to revisit one word he’d typed before moving on to the next insipid exchange. In fact, I’d be willing to bet money on it.
A search party is organized to capture the monster, led by Diaz and Madrid and containing virtually every cast member who had yet to meet an end. Thankfully, this glaring oversight is corrected once the group is on the beast’s turf. Of all the deaths that fill out the final act, only Brian’s resonates as somewhat memorable, if only for the fact that the producers spent a few extra bucks on fake intestines. Of course, they could have simply been beef links serving a dual purpose before winding up on the catering table. Regardless, it was just nice to be able to decipher what the hell was going on for a change. Rob Walker, who directed the unremarkable (yet brilliant compared to this) crime caper “Circus” in 2000, displays the experience and technique of a drunk high schooler shooting a cell phone video at a keg party. Again, the sheer lack of effort put forth is probably more to blame than anything else.
The most unforgivable malfeasance perpetrated by drivel like “Demon” is not, as is often the case with inept horror films, the fact that it takes its viewers for idiots. Films this truly awful are unconcerned with whether or not there is even an audience to begin with, begging the question of who “Demon” was actually made to entertain. Nobody on either side of the fence could possibly be having any fun here. Sheesh.