SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON (2023)
Release Date: 01/19/23 [Shudder]
"A young man struggling with a broken heart learns that his new place is full of restless spirits."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
The end of a relationship is never pleasant, especially if you’re the one being broken up with. Throw a demon into the mix and, as you might imagine, it’s a recipe for even more of a miserable time. While that would never happen in real life - or at least hasn’t happened yet - in Shudder’s latest horror film, Sorry About The Demon, we see what it could look like firsthand.
The film begins with a young man named Will being broken up with by his girlfriend, Amy. As the audience quickly comes to find out, not only are all of Will’s priorities misplaced, he can’t commit to anything. Since being with Amy, he’s taken on a variety of hobbies such as baking and woodworking. He’s even currently stuck in a dead-end customer service job for a toothpaste company because he can’t decide what he wants to do for a living. Understandably, Amy wants out - and she gets it.
To prove to Amy and himself that he can commit to something, Will decides to go all in on a local house that’s recently hit the market. What he doesn’t know is that the family who put it up for sale has struck a deal with a demon. To save their daughter, which the demon previously insisted on taking, they promise to lure an innocent sacrifice to the residence instead. While that sacrifice is originally intended to be Will, like his relationship status, things get complicated.
The film is a horror comedy. Not only is it a fresh take on the demon and exorcism sub-genres of horror; it’s filled with funny moments and concepts. In fact, one of the funniest parts about the film is that the demon outright rejects Will as a sacrifice. So on top of not being wanted by his ex, he’s also not wanted by a creature that is universally known for feasting on anything to survive. While that puts Will in an even darker place, it also puts things into perspective for him and ultimately helps him find the strength to become a better person.
The character development in the film is one of its best and most consistent aspects. Actor Jon Michael Simpson has a certain likability to him that makes it easy to become fully invested in Will’s arc, despite his antics. Even his friends, Patrick and Aimee (not to be confused with his girlfriend), who ultimately help him try to wipe out the demonic threat, are flushed out in ways that make you care and root for them.
Now, the film does admittedly struggle when it comes to balancing its horror and humor. In the opening scene alone, where we meet the family that bargains with the demon, some of the humor feels forced. As the demon possesses their daughter, the parents quip back and forth with it. Not only is it an unrealistic exchange. It’s one of many throughout the film that leave you unsure of how the film wants you to feel. Just when the film finally starts to find its footing in the third act, it devolves into chaos before settling for an absolutely predictable ending.
Sorry About The Demon isn’t bad, but like most breakups it is messy. Writer and director Emily Hagins certainly crafts a unique idea with likable characters and decent scares, but the result never feels fully exercised. As a result, the title feels less like clever wordplay and more like a sincere apology for the product.