Sorry About the Demon (2023) is a Mismash of Mediocre Humor and Exorcism Riffs
Title: Sorry About the Demon
First Non-Festival Release: January 19, 2023 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Emily Hagins
Writer: Emily Hagins
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Starring: Jon Michael Simpson, Jeff McQuitty, Paige Evans, Olivia Ducayen
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
For some people, breakups can be the worst. Between the heartbreak, the perception of wasted time, and the loneliness that follows, it can be difficult to see the light. For others, this could be the start of something new, and the prospects of bettering oneself might outweigh what was once had.
Here starts Sorry About the Demon. Will (Jon Michael Simpson) is still reeling from his recent breakup with Amy (Paige Evans) when he purchases a home for a disturbingly low price from a family that seems way too eager to leave. As he gets his new life together, Will finds himself troubled by a relentless demon inhabiting the home.
Painfully quirky Sorry About the Demon is a tonally grating and lifeless horror comedy with good intentions.
From the get-go, Sorry About the Demon is upfront about its brand of painfully saccharine and goofy comedy. While perfectly genuine in its desire to capture a sense of earnestness, it comes off as stilted and trying too hard. Most of the jokes are stale and predictable. There isn’t a sense of surprise to the punchlines or the horror. This brand of comedy doesn’t work for everyone but doesn’t mean that it can’t work for some audiences.
Its story doesn’t help build the case for a strong film either. Conventional in every sense of the word, there is little done to subvert the demonic possession subgenre beyond its casual approach to exorcism. The issue with this, however, is that any sense of danger is removed from the film. At no point can the audience reasonably believe that anyone is in danger in what amounts to a slightly more adult version of a Disney show.
The core of the story centers on Will’s need to find himself and get back his girlfriend. Taking no effort to reflect inward and see how he may be contributing to the failure of his relationship or moving on and learning some valuable lessons from their time together, Will instead spends the remainder of the film pining for Amy in some regard. The shenanigans are played off as cute and sympathetic, but they feel strangely reminiscent of old-school nerd characters that bemoan their lack of game to some unknown force outside themselves for why they can’t get a girlfriend.
Throughout the narrative, the demon action is both lame and trite thanks to the film’s tendency to lean into comedy over horror. Poking fun at exorcism conventions is a rather simple task considering both regular audiences and horror aficionados alike have a solid understanding of the formula presented year-in and year-out. Sorry About the Demon attempts to find the humor in the hellfire but nearly every attempt is wetted by the odd humor injected into the script. The quirkiness works against the indie as every character comes across as dumb, vapid, or oblivious. That schtick might work for a few minutes or even a quarter of an hour, but for an entire feature it becomes a chore.
Not everything is amiss in Sorry About the Demon. Thanks to the film’s script, much character work is done to prop up its small cast. They all feel like genuine people, even if they are largely caricatures, which makes it easy to understand their motivations. While most of the jokes miss for this reviewer, there are a few that spark joy in a cutesy way.
An admittedly endearing take on love and demons, Sorry About the Demon cannot muster of the courage to adequately break free from the norms of the subgenre to deliver something as special as its concept. Cartoonish characters with poor development deliver middling jokes that feel decidedly immature for a film dealing with a nearly all-adult cast. While it is overall disappointing, for those that vibe with the film’s humor Sorry About the Demon will make a solid addition in their permanent Shudder library. For those that want something a little sharper, it may be best to deliver oneself away from this horror comedy.
Overall Score? 4/10