e-Demon (2018)

As college friends try to hold onto the good old days by staying in touch via the internet, their evening of stories, pranks, drinking and making fun of one another is interrupted by a demon that has been trapped for centuries in Salem, Massachusetts. Seeing as how that demon is on a mission to bring the devil to our reality and how it can also possess multiple people at once, this will be a night that tests their friendship and changes the world forever.

Kendra, AJ, Mar and Dwayne spent time together at THE Ohio State but adulthood is making them grow apart. The only way for them to reconnect is through an all-night video chat. e-Demon captures that night — as well as multiple text messages, Wikipedia pages, message board posts and so much more — ala the films Searching and Unfriended.

The weirdness starts when Gamma introduces his grandmother, who warns of a horrible danger in the trunk that’s in the attic of their family home. The gang has been pranking each other all night with bloody stunts that look real, so when the demon comes to life, it just seems like one more goof. But nope — it’s real and ready to destroy them all.

If you’re looking for a straight-ahead narrative, this isn’t it. Instead, the film is near hyperactive, jumping from screen to screen. But it’s an interesting narrative technique. I wouldn’t want to see every movie in this way, but it works here. The cast are all relative newcomers, but they handle themselves well, basically all acting toward the camera for long uninterrupted takes, reacting to things on their laptops instead of other living people. Actually, the cast being unrecognizable faces really helps tell the story, which slowly grows in intensity.

At first, I was kind of put off by this gimmick, but by the end of the film, particularly with the way it treats the ending, I was hooked.

This is writer/director/producer Jeremy Wechter’s first full-length project. I’ll definitely be seeking out whatever he works on next.

e-Demon is playing in New York at Cinema Village starting tomorrow — complete with Q&A with the director at all showings this weekend. It’s also available on demand and you can get the DVD on Amazon. Learn more at the official site, the e-Demon Resistance Network.

Disclaimer: I was sent this movie by its PR team, but as you know, that has no bearing on my review.

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