2018 | DIR. JEREMY WETCHER | REVIEW BY ALEX MAYNARD.
Given how much E-DEMON’s suspense and twists contribute to its success, I urge potential viewers to seek out the film spoiler-free. Basically, it can be thought of as a supernatural riff on The Thing, shot from the perspective of webcams much like Unfriended. However, what sets it apart is the presentation of up to five scenes simultaneously for almost the entire runtime, an impressive technical achievement that remarkably never becomes confusing. Rather, I can’t wait to see what hidden details emerge on each character’s screen, or decipher muffled dialogue during their shouting matches, throughout subsequent viewings. Don’t get me wrong: there’s plenty here to satisfy horror fans, but as I implied earlier, I enjoyed this film most when assuming the role of detective. Meanwhile, the structure gives the entire cast moments to shine; their reactions to the danger around them are made even more gripping by their isolation, accompanied only by other characters watching on hopelessly. The performances also subtly foreshadow several twists, and, without breaking my own rule about spoilers, suffice it to say that trying to spot glimpses of deception is thrilling.
Although I seriously can’t overstate the effectiveness of Wechter’s stylistic choices, there are moments in E-DEMON’s second and third acts that unfortunately challenge the established logic and pace. For instance, the previously minor character Bastian (Vincent Cooper) is abruptly thrust into the centre of the narrative due to his knowledge of the paranormal; there’s nothing inherently wrong with this shift, but his scenes are full of exposition that clashes with how subtly the eponymous creature had been revealed. At best, it’s kind of lame, at worst, it brings the tension screeching to a halt. Similarly, while I’m sure the cold open and close were intended to explain the multiple webcam format, they felt obnoxious and tonally inconsistent, almost like scenes from a different film. In fact, the main narrative is so superior to this subplot that I found their ultimate connection surprisingly satisfying, only to feel somewhat let down when the film didn’t simply end at that point.
The minor issues I’ve discussed here certainly keep E-DEMON from being perfect, yet I’d still recommend it to almost anyone. By prioritising tension and mystery over gore, Wechter has crafted a horror film that genre fans and more squeamish viewers will enjoy equally. This is the kind of experience that uncovers new details and thrills with each successive viewing, and I imagine I’ll be watching it again myself soon.