If you were to combine the quirkiness of a sitcom like Bewitched with the horror elements of The Exorcist, you would get something a little like Sorry About the Demon. Written and directed by Emily Hagins (Scare Package), this horror comedy follows a man named Will moving into an old rental house after a breakup. Unfortunately for him, there is a demon living in the basement, and it wants a human sacrifice.
For the most part, Sorry About the Demon is a fun, goofy watch that allows the audience to just sit back and roll with the laughs. Right from the opening scene, the lighthearted tone is set with outlandish scenarios and comical dialogue. Even when it comes to the otherwise frightening demonic presence, there is still plenty of humor. When Will moves into the house, he is being set up as an unwitting sacrifice for the demon. But just like Will was just rejected by his girlfriend, the demon doesn’t want to possess him because he’s not a fit sacrifice. The ensuing chaos primarily revolves around Will struggling with his self worth, and his life-path makes for a very entertaining watch.
While most of these scenarios and odd encounters throughout the film are sure to bring laughs, every once in a while something happens that is just a bit too outside the scope of reality. In these moments, audiences might feel like they’ve been pulled out of the film. There is also a running gag related to the toothpaste Will represents for his customer service job. In multiple scenes there is talk about the new formula, which everyone seems to hate. The toothpaste even plays into the demonic aspect of Sorry About the Demon, but it isn’t explained very well. As a horror enthusiast, I was able to decipher that the high sodium content was meant to relate to salt being used to repel ghosts and demons, but others might not pick up on that and end up a bit confused.
Despite the humor and overall playful feel of the film, Sorry About the Demon does manage to incorporate some more serious themes between the whackier scenes. Most of this revolves around Will and his directionless way of life. Working as a customer support representative for a toothpaste company making minimum wage, Will doesn’t seem to have any real aim in life. He’s dabbled in different hobbies with the hopes of turning them into a career such as baking, woodworking, and candle-making. Unfortunately, whether due to distraction, lack of confidence, or inability to commit, Will always gave up. Coming face-to-face with a demon threatening the ones he loves forces Will to take a good hard look at himself.
Jon Michael Simpson (Scare Package) stars as Will. Simpson is great at making Will come across as a lovable loser. He might not have his life together, but at least he seems like a decent guy at his core. The rest of the supporting cast also helps to make Sorry About the Demon entertaining. While they’re all hilarious to watch, Paige Evans (Trapped With My Husband) is a standout as Will’s ex-girlfriend, Amy. Evans has a level-headedness she brings to the character that is a wonderful juxtaposition alongside Simpson’s portrayal of Will. That, and she delivers quite a memorable performance at the climax of the film.
Being a low-budget, indie horror film means the filmmakers relied almost entirely on practical effects. When it comes to the demons, ghosts, and other possessed beings throughout Sorry About the Demon, almost every transformation was created with makeup. It’s quite simplistic, but very effective. It’s clear that the filmmakers took inspiration from The Exorcist when creating the makeup look for the possessed, relying on pale skin, visible purply veins, and disturbing yellow eyes. It might not elicit the same amount of fear as its inspiration, but the demonic look is still quite striking.
Sorry For the Demon is a humorous romp bringing sitcom-like comedy to a demonic infestation. While some of the comedy doesn’t quite land, it still makes for an amusing time that very lightly touches on deeper issues. The clever writing is paired well with strong performances, delivering on the laughs. This latest Shudder original film is sure to entertain horror fans and make people take notice of Hagins.
OVERALL RATING: 6/10