Do you remember that moment from Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” where Obadiah Stane berated a scientist who was failing to recreate Tony Stark’s arc reactor? Stane essentially said that Stark was able to make a seemingly sustainable source of energy in a cave with a box of scraps, and the scientists were failing to do the same despite having all the equipment and tools at their disposal. And the scientist simply replied that he wasn’t Tony Stark. When I watch a horror house movie like “Sorry About the Demon,” where a character is trapped with a bunch of evil spirits and a demon is trying to take their soul to the underworld, and it isn’t any good, I am reminded of that statement. Because if Sam Raimi can make “The Evil Dead” in a dilapidated and isolated cabin, what’s stopping every other director who is equipped with all the modern filmmaking tools from emulating it? Well, anyway, let’s talk about this Emily Hagins directorial.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Why Did the Sellers Sell the House to Will?
“Sorry About The Demon” opens with Ken, Tammy, and Jake finding out that the daughter of the family, Grace, has been possessed by the demon, Deomonous. If the surnames don’t make it abundantly clear, Ken and Tammy try to bargain with the demon of all people in order to save Grace’s life. They learn that Deomonous wants a human sacrifice. For what purpose? That’s not apparent at that moment, and the sellers don’t bother learning about it either. They just want the Demon to leave Grace’s body. So, after some cautious discussion, the Sellers and Deomonous enter a deal that if they can bring a human sacrifice, the demon has to leave Grace and the house as well. Deomonous agrees and promptly allows Grace to return to normalcy. Around the same time, they get a client in Will, an employee at a toothpaste-selling company, who has recently broken up with his girlfriend, Amy, and wants to move in somewhere new. And, without telling him what’s up with that house, the Sellers temporarily sell it to Will, hoping that he’ll soon be taken away by Deomonous and they can move back again.
The Sellers’ plan backfires because Will is such a grade-A loser that Deomonous doesn’t want to make him his vessel and take him to the underworld. Since Will doesn’t have anywhere to go, he gets used to Deomonous’s threats and the ghosts’ hauntings as well. So, Will is stuck with Deomonous and the spirits, and the spirits and Deomonous are stuck with Will. On paper, this is a pretty good premise for some fun horror comedy. It gives ample opportunities for Deomonous and the spirits to scare Will into leaving the house. And it offers the right set of circumstances for Will to come up with some inventive methods to stay put. Technically speaking, Emily Hagins does exactly that. But it’s so basic, bland, and devoid of comedy and horror that the only thing you can do while watching this film is stare at it with a blank expression on your face. The movie clearly had the idea of showing bones sticking out of hands and using gnarly possession makeup. So, why didn’t Hagins and her team just double down on it with some interesting camerawork and lighting? I’m sure relying on visual comedy instead of awkward jokes would’ve improved the viewing experience a lot.
Did Deomonous Lie Regarding His Deal With The Sellers?
At the midpoint of the film, Will’s ex-girlfriend, Amy, decides to make amends with him because she wants closure for why he wasn’t available on the night of her office party. And Will concocts this convoluted story to start things over with Amy, and it works because they eventually get intimate with each other. But that gives Deomonous the opportunity to possess Amy and make her his vessel. Tammy sees that as a sign of their success and returns home with her whole family, expecting Deomonous and the spirits to be gone, only to find Will and her friends, Aimee and Patrick, trying to perform an exorcism on Amy. Despite their unwillingness to do the one thing that’ll allow them to get back their house and keep Grace safe, the Sellers sit down with Aimee and Patrick for a seance session, while Will goes to talk to the possessed Amy in the basement. Amy is too busy digging a portal to hell, so she doesn’t pay heed to Will’s requests to snap out of it. In the meantime, Deomonous pulls a double whammy by revealing that, in addition to Amy, he’s taking Grace with him as well.
Again, Hagins does a good job of creating a scenario where the protagonists (Will, Aimee, and Patrick) and the antagonists (the Sellers) are forced to work together to defeat the villain, i.e., Deomonous. But the route that Hagins takes to reach that conclusion is not even basic. Yes, we all understand that Will is doing it all out of love. Aimee and Patrick are there for Will’s sake. Ken, Tammy, and Jake are trying to save Grace because she’s a part of their family. That’s the bare minimum that should be expected from a horror-house possession movie. However, isn’t it necessary to test these connections between the characters? Shouldn’t the saviors be taken to their breaking point to save the victims of the demon? Wouldn’t that make us believe in these bonds and help us understand that they are truly willing to go to any lengths to save their loved ones? Because if the characters aren’t convincing and the actors and the director aren’t showing any sense of urgency regarding the rescue mission, why should we care if Deomonous takes the whole world to hell or just Amy and Grace? Hence, we enter the finale with little to no momentum.
‘Sorry About The Demon’ Ending Explained – Was Will Successful In Banishing Deomonous? What Happened To The Spirits?
On the one hand, Patrick, Aimee, and Jake figure out that Deomonous splits himself into multiple parts (Amy, Grace, the spirits, and a demonic cake), and on the other hand, Will realizes that the headset that he uses to talk to his clients can also be used to talk to the possessed Amy. So, Will talks Amy back to normalcy and hopes that that’s the end of this whole nonsense. But the possessed Grace jumps back in to continue the digging-to-hell process. That’s when everyone realizes that the high salt content in the toothpaste that Will sells (which previously caused Amy’s hand to burn when Will touched it with his toothpaste-smeared hand) can be used to seal the hell portal shut. Patrick puts this theory into practice and dumps all the toothpaste in the bubbling crack in the ground, where it kind of solidifies. However, that doesn’t de-possess Grace or rid the house of the spirits, and she tries to re-dig the hole and go in. Amy jumps in with her while Will stabs the cake (which apparently has part of Deomonous in it). Although everyone thinks that Amy and Grace are gone, both of them emerge from the toxic-looking but closed portal.
It seems like Deomonous is gone and the spirits are here to stay. Since the Sellers don’t want anything to do with the haunted house, they give it over to Will for good. One year later, the Sellers reconvene with Will, Amy, Aimee, and Patrick. While the adults talk about how Will is adjusting to the ghosts and how Patrick’s business of selling Will’s salt-infused paste as “Hell Gell” (a demon repellent) is going, Grace momentarily goes missing and finds Will’s walkman. As the Sellers leave, Aimee says that she’s glad that Deomonous never found a way to leave the house and go into the wild. And that’s when Will notices Grace playing the walkman and giving an evil look, which means that Deomonous latched onto the walkman and has repossessed Grace. Since he’s not limited to the house now, it’s possible that Deomonous is going to grab hold of more innocent victims and try to drag them to hell. That said, the sentiment that stayed with me is that Will and his friends kind of see this whole episode as the most exciting time of their lives. It shows how exhausting and monotonous life is for people in their 20s in this economy that they think fighting the devil is their high point.
“Sorry About The Demon” could’ve been a really great movie. But it’s not. It had all the right material, an appropriate premise, and even the perfect mix of characters. However, at every step of the way, the filmmaking team seemed like they were pulling their punches for some inexplicable reason. They should’ve swung for the fences, and that would’ve at least made the viewing experience interesting. I am not sure if Hagins is going to get a sequel, even though she has set the stage for one. If she does, I hope she learns from her mistakes, assembles a crew that brings the best out of her, and delivers a new horror villain in the form of Deomonous.
“Sorry About The Demon” is a 2023 Drama Horror film directed by Emily Hagins.