02nd May2019

‘Demon Eye’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Darren Day, Liam Fox, Kate James, Ellie Goffe, Robert Hamilton, Alannah Marie, Jimmy Allen | Written and Directed by Ryan Simons

demon-eye-poster

A young woman, Sadie (Kate James), returns to her father’s country house in the moors following his mysterious “suicide”. There she meets Dan (Robert Hamilton) a local reporter who tells her father got her a job with him at the local paper. Intrigued by the offer and looking to find out why and how her father died, she takes the job AND takes up residence in her old family home. It’s there where she finds a cursed amulet, the titular Demon Eye, which is connected to local witchcraft legend and the story of Padfoot and the Burning Girl, a pair of demons who now haunt Sadie as they previously did her father…

The British countryside has often been a significant location in horror, from the fields of The Wicker Man to the moors of An American Werewolf of London; and its no different in Demon Eye. The moorland setting providing a bleak landscape in which writer/director Ryan Simons sets his grim tale – making great use of the serenity and the beauty of the locale to offset, and also complement, the horror. Interestingly, this particular moorland, and more importantly this story, is apparently based on the tales of witchcraft on the Saddleworth Moors – somewhere not too far from Nerdly HQ itself!

Surprisingly, whereas the antagonists of these kinds of  “haunting” films are usually innocents thrust into a situation they can’t control, here Sadie is somewhat complicit in what happens – she uses the amulet to lure her co-worker Dan away from his girlfriend, knowing full well the stories around misuse of the demon eye but she doesn’t seem to care; she’s seemingly only in it for herself. However thanks to the subtleties of Simons storytelling you do, ultimately, end up questioning whether it’s Sadie’s already fragile psyche (we see her taking pills to cope with her mental health) that makes her that way, or the house and the eye itself.

In almost the antithesis of that subtlety, Simons really goes for it with the jump scares in Demon Eye. He certainly knows how to set up a scare in the first place, making great use of the stillnes and silence of the countryside, the peace and quiet found out in the country – even reflecting how that peacefulness can actually be eerily disturbing, with that silence erupting with the appearance of demons, ghosts, monsters – of the spirit kind and man kind – and a scene that, I think rivals that legendary bath sequence in the original Nightmare on Elm Street movie, it’s just as creepy and possibly a little more frightening!

And that’s the best complement I can give the film. It’s actually frightening. Between the creepy visuals; a soundtrack that combines eerie music, snarling dogs and crying babies; and a left-field plot twist in the final third, Demon Eye really piles on the fear, spiralling, nay crescendoing, into an insanely terrifying haunted-house thrill ride that left this jaded horror fan completely satisfied.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, but British horror is on a roll right now. Film after film, story after story, each and every Brit-made terror tale of recent years seems to be getting it right. With films like Crucible of the Vampire, Darkness Falls and now Demon Eye, I truly, TRULY, believe we’re in a British horror renaissance that deserves to be talked about in as much reverance and authority as the Hammer/Tigon/Amicus years are.

**** 4/5

Currently unavailabe in the UK, you can watch Demon Eye on VOD outlets like Amazon Video and iTunes in the US right now.

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One Response to “‘Demon Eye’ Review”

  • Mark

    Wow, this review is certainly not for the film I just saw. My wife and I went to see it despite the lame trailer because we live in Turkey and this film was in English at our theatre. Possibly the worst film we have both ever seen, and definitely NOT frightening in any aspect. We got a couple of little laughs out of the ridiculous jump scenes, and spent quite a large part of our train ride home trying to figure out the plot. The twist mentioned in the review is completely superluous, as is much of the plot actually.