In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a welcome trend of smaller films getting at least a limited theatrical release along with their VOD/DVD release. Recently home video veterans Wild Eye Releasing ventured into theatrical distribution with The Forest Of The Lost Souls now Dark Cuts is entering the market with E-Demon, a found footage film that takes place entirely on computer screens.
Four college friends Kendra (Julia Kelly), AJ (Christopher Daftsios), Mar (Ryan Redebaugh) and Dwayne (John Anthony Wylliams) feel themselves growing apart since they graduated and left campus. To try to reconnect they decide to do a group video chat. Of course, this involves drinking and pranks, just like back in school. Only this time the prank goes horribly wrong. The cursed trunk really is cursed and unleashed an unusually powerful demon, one that can possess multiple people at a time. Now the friends must try to figure out who among them and their various housemates are safe as they try to survive.
From the start, E-Demon stumbles with one of the silliest intros in found footage history. A figure in a hoodie with a pixelated face and distorted voice claims to be part of the “E-Demon Resistance Network” and gives us the backstory of what we’re about to see. Of course, that also gives away everyone’s fate That’s expected with found footage films, and one of the reasons I rarely like them.
The characters are the usual bunch of squabbling stereotypes that you can’t believe were ever acquaintances let alone close friends. Listening to them snipe at each other quickly gets irritating. However, once the possessions and killings start things get a bit more interesting. The demon seems to possess its victims by getting it to watch as it says or does certain things. It becomes a matter of luring new victims in front of the monitor to be infected as it were. Evil is indeed going viral.
The film uses the gimmick of an integrated webcam/headset to let the characters leave the keyboard and wander around. Writer/director Jeremy Wechter uses this to keeps things from becoming totally stagnant. Opening things up and essentially creating four haunted houses at once livens things up a lot. But once they start to figure out the demon is spreading via their computers they don’t think to just disconnect from the chat. Yes, that would end the film, but not doing it comes off as totally moronic.
E-Demon does have some good moments and some decent suspense at times. But since we know pretty much how it all turns out it can’t maintain it. Found footage fans will probably be able to overlook a lot of this. THE FEAR FOOTAGE was able to make me do that, this wasn’t, but then again I’m not the target audience for found footage stories either. Those that like them can add another star to my rating.
Dark Cuts will be releasing E-DEMON to theaters and VOD on September 14th.