Film Reviews

Demigod – Film Review

Cults have always been easy fodder for horror films. Cults by their very nature are strange things. They act weird, they often worship shifty and unusual things, and there are recorded cases of cults ending in death and horror. As such, it’s not really a surprise that they appear in horror films frequently. Demigod is the latest film to include a frightening religious group, but in this case it’s the thing they pray to that’s more of a threat than the cult itself.

The story of Demigod follows Robin (Rachel Nichols) and her husband Leo (Yohance Myles) as they travel from the US to Germany following the death of Robin’s grandfather, Karl (Jeremy London). Robin has been given everything her grandfather owned, and as such the two of them have journeyed out to his remote forest home to go through his things and see what they’re able to do with his estate.

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Shortly after arriving at the remote cabin the two of them run into local hunter Arthur (played by the film’s writer and director Miles Doleac), and his daughter Amalia (Rachel Ryals), who tells the young couple stories of the things that haunt the forest, of how people sometimes go missing and are never seen again. This information puts the two of them on edge, and encourages Robin to tell Leo of some of the strange things her grandfather used to do, and the reason why her parents moved away and never let him talk to Robin again.

That night, the cabin comes under attack from a group of strange women who kidnap Robin and Leo. The next day the two of them wake up in the woods, tied to trees, alongside a group of other victims; including Arthur and Amalia. The group learns that the group who took them worship the ancient hunter god who lives within the forest, and that they are to be the sacrifice to him. Let loose out into the forest, the group must try to survive as the cult’s god stalks them one by one.

Demigod feels like a strange film to try and figure out to begin with. When the film starts we get a strange scene where this odd cult is performing a ritual over a pregnant woman, a woman who was trying to escape their clutches. As the film builds it seems more and more like this cult is going to be the focus, especially when they invade the cabin and take Robin and Leo prisoner. It begins to feel like this is going to be some grindhouse-like flick, where our victims are going to be chased through the forest by the villains, and that them worshipping some ancient god of the hunt is just the justification for this rather than the old trope of ‘strange cannibal family’.

But Demigod does something I wasn’t expecting, and the god shows up. This film – that feels very grounded and real, thanks in part to it not being hugely polished, and feeling grimy – takes a sudden shift into the fantastical when a cow-headed man begins to chase people down. At first I was thinking it was perhaps a man in a costume, but no, the film fully embraces the notion that the forest is actually the home of an ancient god and just runs with it.

Outside of the strangeness of the plot the main draw would be trying to work out what happened with Robin as a young girl. We get hints through stories, and dream sequences, and because of this Robin ends up being the only really developed character across the course of the movie. Leo gets some interesting moments, and Arthur is a morally grey character who adds some drama into the mix, but they never feel more than just simple archetypes. Plus, the other people who are being hunted alongside the main four are so forgettable and brief that I’m not even sure if they’re named in the movie.

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Demigod is not the kind of movie that I was expecting from the marketing, and it seems to have taken two very different types of horror genres and smashed them together to try and do something interesting and new. Unfortunately, thanks to not really developing any of the characters in any real way, and the lack of any real tension over the course of the movie, I never felt connected with the characters, and wasn’t really that invested in seeing if they lived or not.

For horror fans looking for something to throw on for a few hours Demigod will be worth a go, but if you’re looking for something that will surprise you, that will break boundaries, or will get you invested, this probably won’t be ticking any of those boxes for you.

Demigod is available to rent or own on digital HD from Bulldog Film Distribution on 21st February.

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