Demon (2016) - Marcin Wrona
Marcin Wrona's Demon is an introspective study of regret and internal anguish masquerading as a horror film, telling the story of Piotr, a bridegroom, who on the day of his own wedding celebration becomes possessed by some type of unquiet spirit. Featuring hazy, foggy exteriors, dimly lit interiors that feature high contrast lighting, and eerie sound design, Demon is a film that effectively creates an atmosphere of horror and intrigue centered around its story, enticing the viewer with its atmospheric tone which suggests true evil is lurking around every corner. Marcin Wrona's film begins as an intriguing ghost story, with Piotr struggling to understand the strange happenings he is experiencing on the very cusp of his wedding day This aspect of the film takes place very much in the headspace of Piotr, documenting the anxiety and confusion this character faces as the slow-moving effects of his possession become more and more dramatic as his wedding ceremony draws near. Marcin Wrona's film's atmosphere is felt throughout the wedding ceremony, with the filmmaker beautifully juxtaposing the chaotic nature of any wedding with the horror of possession, with Marcin Wrona using Piotr's natural anxiety about impressing his wife's family and friends as the perfect counterbalance to the character's demonic visions and strange occurrences he is experiencing. When Piotr's wife and family realize his behavior isn't merely anxiety and nerves, Demon finds its wings as a film, becoming a truly ambiguous yet piercing study of regret and pain. Starting off as an intriguing ghost story, Marcin Wrona's Demon completely subverts the expectations of the viewer in its back half, venturing into complete abstraction as the film provides an ambiguous meditation on historical amnesia. This is a film that provides no simple answers to the viewer, only questions, with Piotr's possessesion serving as a catalyst that triggers the deep-seeded despair and regret lurking in the past of some of Piotr's father-in-law, among others, whose burden, while ambiguous, is very much experienced. Ambiguous and abstract as to what actually is haunting these characters, Demon will frustrate many viewers who want some type of closure into the unquiet's spirits purpose, yet what Marcin Piotr has created feels nonetheless deeply personal, being a film that attempts to capture the deep-seeded pain which exists in the unspoken word, establishing characters such as Piotr's father-in-law who appear to be haunted by the past in one way or another. While Marcin Wrona's Demon could certainly have delivered more bite from a horror perspective early on, the film slowly reveals itself not as a horror film about possession but one about the burden in which the past can have on the present, with Demon touching on some primal ideals of horror that every individual who has any form of past regret can relate too, no matter how abstract the film's narrative and characterizations may become.
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