This is a movie that I decided to check out due to needing a 2023 release for my podcast, Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. It didn't make the greatest double feature, but being early in the year, it can be limited. I came into this one knowing that it was partially comedy. I also knew that involving possession and a haunted house.
Synopsis: a young man struggling with a broken heart learns that his new place is full of restless spirits.
We start this off in an older looking house. There is a family that lives there and I believe they think it is their dream home. The problem is that living there is a nightmare. The father is in real estate and his name is Ken Sellers (Dave Peniuk). His wife is Tammy (Sarah Cleveland). They also have two children, Jake (Jude Zappala) and Grace (Presley Allard). When the latter becomes possessed by a demon named Deomonous (voiced by Tony Vespe), the family makes a deal with it. They need to bring it a sacrifice.
The movie then shifts us over to Will (Jon Michael Simpson). He lives with his girlfriend, Amy (Paige Evans). Things seem to have soured between them. Will works from home as a customer service representative. Amy tests him with a question, wanting him to come with her. He doesn't answer and she leaves. They then break up.
Will ends up at the house of the Sellers. Staying there is quite cheap. They're leaving out the reason they want him to stay. He agrees to their terms. It doesn't take long before supernatural things start happening. The ghosts mess with him and then he finds a large cake created by Deomonous. Will gets a gut punch when the demon doesn't want to possess him, causing him to spiral even more.
Our lead isn't as alone as he thinks though. Amy still cares about him, but she needs more from him. Will has a friend of Patrick (Jeff McQuitty) who tries to help. Part of that is by setting him up with a co-worker, also named Aimee (Olivia Ducayen). They all end up back at his place when Deomonous sees opportunities with the guests. There is also a renewed purpose in Will's life that could change everything.
Now that is where I'm going to leave my recap for this movie as well as for the characters. Where I want to start is that I ended up liking this more than I was expecting. Part of it for me was the ability to connect with our lead, Will. I've been in a situation like him in the past. I've lived with a girlfriend who didn't think I would amount to much due to my circumstances at that time. Plus, I was content with where I was working. Looking at my life now and where I've ended up is quite interesting. Correlating back to the movie, I can see why Amy leaves him. In doing so, it forced him to reevaluate things.
With that established, I did see people not liking this since it didn't lean as much into the comedy. The comedy we get worked for me personally. This is a solid parody on possession and haunted house films that worked. It wasn't as scary as some. I think what they do with those elements are effective. This walks a fine line of being a scary movie with a bit of comedy or a comedy with scary aspects. I'm not sure it goes far enough into either to fully work.
That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this though. I had fun here. The characters of Will and Patrick are annoying, but they also felt real to me. I like that Aimee becomes our 'expert' on what to do. That was funny. The other Amy does have a change of heart that doesn't fully work, especially as someone who has been in this limbo type of relationship. I'm not sure enough time has passed for it work for me. It is also funny with the Sellers family and how they play into everything.
Since I've went over the characters, let me discuss the acting. I thought that Simpson works as our lead. There is a bit of me that feels bad for him, coming from my personal experiences. I can also see why he was dumped. Not sure we see enough change for me to fully buy in though. McQuitty is funny. Also, quite annoying. I liked Ducayen's performance. I've already said what didn't work with Evans, but she is fine as Amy. Peniuk, Cleveland, Allard and Zappala all work in their roles. Vespe has a great voice for the demon. Other than that, the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.
The last things to go into would be with the filmmaking. I think the cinematography is good. The best part of it is setting the atmosphere. The outdated house adds to it. They also make it feel menacing which works for a haunted house. This has a combination of practical and CGI effects. The latter are hit and miss for me. Doesn't ruin it though. The look of the ghosts and those who are possessed were good. The climax gets odd, but I had fun there. Other than that, I'd say that the soundtrack fit for what was needed. I'll bring back up that the voice of Deomonous is creepy. That was solid.
In conclusion, this one I enjoyed, but I didn't love. It does good things. I like that they took the horror elements serious. They could have leaned in more to them though. There is comedy, but not all of that worked. I do think that the performances fit the characters as needed. This is well-made. Establishing the setting goes a long way here. I was pleasantly surprised here. This is one that I'd recommend if you like possession or haunted house films as I think this is better than most of the 'ghostlies' out there.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
2 out of 4 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.