Demon Resurrection (2008) d. William Hopkins (USA)
Upon hearing of her recent, possibly drug-related hospitalization, a group of concerned friends converge on the isolated Long Island home of Grace (Alexis Golightly) to stage a well-intentioned intervention on her behalf. To their surprise, the source of her ills are not chemical in nature nor are they provided by her mystery lover, the handsome, sensitive long-haired John (Damian Ladd); instead, Grace has recently escaped from the clutches of an evil cult, one that has done some very naughty things to her insides. Yup, with no small nod to Rosemary’s Baby, nefarious occultist Toth (Will McDonald) has orchestrated an enterprise by which a little bouncing Beelzebub is bound to be born, and woe betide those that stand in his way.
After languishing in distribution hell for six long years, writer/ director Hopkin’s DIY dark-arts thriller is finally making its way out into the world, rising from the grave like its bloodthirsty skull-headed antagonists. While not as explicit and adult-oriented as the box art and pre-menu DVD warnings would have us believe, there is an appreciable amount of boobs, blood, and beasts on hand.
|Absolutely integral to the plot, I assure you.|
However, the fact that viewers have to wait until the 45-minute mark until the latter two B’s show up is a nearly fatal flaw; the excess of talk-talk-talk, broken only by a brief ritual interlude depicting Grace’s demonic deflowering, are likely to have a lot of fans reaching for the remote. Rest assured; once everyone (finally) stops jabbering and the rollercoaster (finally) starts flying down the juicy tracks, this sucker don’t stop, with plenty of eviscerations, lacerations, and latex creations on hand for the film’s target audience.
The relatively unknown cast helps add a certain thrill, since we don’t know who’s going to make it out alive, and indeed, there are more than a few surprises in the order by which the victims messily bite the dust. Sensible “trust me, I’m a doctor” leader Kate (Laurie Miller) quickly takes charge, but when Grace’s oogey offspring makes its impressively gooey entrance, she’s at a loss for this particular brand of husbandry.
The males range from mighty Denton (Bashir Solebo) and macho Mike (Chad Kessler) to the more, er, resourceful Steven (Joe McLean) and Alex (Eli Kranski). Stephanie Roy’s Marcy and Amanda Knox’s Barbara, on the other hand, are there primarily to add to the body count, but when and how they get theirs is half the fun.
On the other side of the fence, independent horror star Joe Zaso (Barricade) lends his imposing frame to the cause as Toth’s assistant – he’s not given much to do except glare and tear Golightly’s top to tatters, but he does it well.
Even more enjoyable than the arterial sprays and ropey intestines strewn about, however, are Hopkins’ lovingly crafted, show-stealing zombie creatures. Direct descendants of Amando de Ossorio’s Knights Templar from Tombs of the Blind Dead and Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground: Nights of Terror, these ghastly grinning ghouls aren’t in a hurry to get you, but get you they will – slow and steady skins the face.
They don’t look the least realistic, with their giant skull helmets and painted-on finger-bones, but in these end times of undead fatigue, it’s a bona-fide treat to see something other than regular ol’ grue-slathered humans shambling after their prey. Rubber monster lovers, this is your kinda poison.
The DVD is rich with supplemental features, such as a 30-minute making-of featurette that takes us from the audition process to on-set interviews with the cast. Also showcased are numerous effects shots…that you probably didn’t even know were effects!
Thought that zombie busted through that window, didn’t you? Nope, it’s a separate shot of a shattered pane expertly composited onto the empty frame with the undead’s arm plunging through! That gooey Eraserhead-lite baby puppet? Never on the same set as the lovely ladies it viciously attacks! Those skulls surrounding the archeological dig? All added in post!
These movie magic reveals are tantalizing glimpses behind the microbudget curtain, with many more pointed out during the director’s audio commentary alongside stunt coordinator/co-producer Edward Wheeler. With the seams so well-concealed, one can’t help but come away with an even deeper appreciation for Hopkins’ achievement.
Like Bob Clark’s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, the film’s admittedly sluggish start eventually yields to much grander things, and the expansive, seemingly unnecessary amounts of exposition actually do pay off later. So, either put on your patience hat or be prepared to lean on the fast forward button, but stick around for the grand finale – you’ll be glad you did.
Demon Resurrection can be purchased on DVD directly from the filmmakers HERE, or streamed on Amazon HERE
--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine