Demon Resurrection

Certificate: 18
Running Time: 90 mins
Director: William Hopkins
Starring: Alexis Golightly, Damian Ladd, Bashir Solebo
Genre: Horror, Exploitation
Country: USA

A group of friends come together to stage an intervention unaware of the recently excavated demonic burial ground nearby or what lies ahead of them if they dare stick around.

All too often independent horror is beaten with the bloody end of an exceptionally dirty stick.  For every one good indie horror there are one hundred dreadful offerings.  The same is true for modern day independent attempts at Exploitation cinema so the chances of Demon Resurrection passing muster surely must be high, right?  Wrong.  In recent reviews we’ve been quite lucky to be able to dole out the praise and pentagrams generously.  The roll continues.  Demon Resurrection has the look and feel of an authentic Exploitation horror.  That’s not to say it looks old, or hokey –anything but.  It’s the energy instilled in the production that draws this authenticity to the screen and something that Hopkins must be praised for.  It’s part Fulci’s Zombi, part Night of the Living Dead yet it has enough style, strength, confidence and composure to stand alone as an incredibly well constructed, not to mention enjoyable, piece of genre fiction.

The film has the look of classic horror without coming across as showy or forced.  There’s a beautiful green hue to the undead, the cinematography is tight and claustrophobic when it needs to be and opens up marvellously to highlight just how screwed everyone is, at all the right moments.  The set pieces (normally the Achilles heel of indie horror) are not only extremely well choreographed but are also tightly shot, sharply performed and beautifully balanced.  Not too long, not too showy.  Hopkins’ sensibilities when it comes to the visual representation of the resurrected is spot on; enough on screen to fill the audience with fear but not enough to allow us to become normalised to them.  It’s a masterful demonstration of skill mixed with style and patience as the tension is allowed to build with the gradual turning of the screw.  Narratively Demon Resurrection taps into the rich pipeline that is cursed burial ground but does it in a way that has enough of a tweak to it that it reinvigorates a narrative which traditionally comes with pre-set audience expectations.  Like Fulci, Hopkins shrinks our cinematic world, shrinks it down to one house; one house, eight friends and ten hours of attempted survival (give or take a few minutes).  It’s this shrinking of cinematic geography coupled with expansion of cinematic time (as time is often condensed in cinema) that creates tension.  The characters are trapped in one location, the audience trapped in another (our seats) and Hopkins (like Fulci before) uses this shrink-and-stretch technique to tell the smaller world story and deliver genuine tension to the hearts of the audience.

The film is as well put together with regards to casting as it is with everything else.  There are some excellent performances on display, Will McDonald (as Toth) has a wonderful screen presence and the essence of Michael Parks which makes him incredibly watchable.  Similarly, Damian Ladd (as John) and Bashir Solebo (Denton) step up and deliver commanding, powerful performances that immediately have note taken as two actors that are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the future but the stand-out is Alexis Golightly.  She has the most difficult job of the movie; as Grace she is the central character who (for reasons you’ll see) has large portions of the film were she’s a lot of set-up to do in order to deliver the final arc of the movie.  Her on-screen presence and dedication to the movie is commendable, she’s a daring and gifted performer whose role demands nothing short of one-hundred percent belief in the on-screen stimulus.  To ease her foot off the pedal for a moment would allow some of the more graphic, disturbing, beautifully horrific moments to lapse into spoof yet this never happens.  A mesmerising display of talent and dedication.

Demon Resurrection isn’t just great “for a second outing as director” (Hopkins’ first being Sleepless Nights).  Demon Resurrection is just plain great.  Extremely well constructed, beautifully paced, superbly acted and hugely entertaining.  How it hasn’t been on Knifed in Venice’s radar for the past six years is a mystery.  It is now though, and it should be on yours.


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