4/10 An independent horror movie that is so independent that there isn’t even a Wikipedia page for it, “Don’t Look at the Demon” is not to be confused with what I tell myself when Nancy Pelosi comes onto my television screen. Instead, this is a forgettable movie about a team of paranormal investigators who film for their own show. They end up in Malaysia to investigate a demonic case, only to get more than they bargained for. Fiona Dourif plays Jules, who had a run in with a demon as a child, has suffered PTSD ever since but is able to differentiate between actual demonic presences vs. phonies making up stories just so they can get onto their TV show. While most of the movie falls flat, I will start off with the positives before we get into the bulk of the review. Dourif gives a solid performance as the troubled Jules and rising star Harris Dickinson who this year alone has appeared in “Where the Crawdads Sing”, “See How They Run”, “Triangle of Sadness” and this movie gives a memorable performance as well. The movie is rather secluded, which adds to the claustrophobic tone/mood set by director Brando Lee. Despite the smaller budget, Lee is able to make the most when it came to the visual effects. While not breaking the mold, the visuals will disturb the audience and get the job done. Finally, at roughly an hour and a half, the movie constantly moves forward with break neck pacing that will have you glued to your screen from start to finish. Those victories aside, the rest of the movie comes up short. The biggest issue here is the script. Not only is the story nothing new and just a mixture of multiple, better horror films that deal with haunted houses, exorcisms, etc. but the character development and dialogue leave much to be desired. We get the bare minimum character development of Jules and no one else. While the pacing moves quickly to keep you entertained, it leaves no time to get to know any of these characters, past or present, that the movie shows us. There are also a few things that flat out don’t make sense. An old projector is found that is only there for exposition but A) the person committing the heinous acts surely would have no reason to film himself (if he does, they are never stated) and B) the fact that the projector works 100% perfectly fine and begins right where it does to fill our cast of characters in is ridiculous. One character wonders aloud why the couple who are allegedly being cursed don’t simply leave the house (fair point) but we are never given a clear answer as to why they don’t pack their bags and leave. There are also several scenes shot inside of vehicles and when we see outside of the windows with the background zooming by, it looks incredibly fake, like it was shot in a studio and not on an open road. Some driving scenes look legitimate, like they were shot on location, which just makes the other driving scenes stick out like a sore thumb. When the movie’s demon possesses someone and speaks through them, their voice becomes deeper and demonic but the problem is we can rarely understand what they are saying because of how distorted their voice sounds. In the end, the movie just brings nothing new to the table and begins to leave your mind the moment you leave the theater due to how forgettable it is. With other films out now like “Barbarian” and “Smile”, there is really no need to watch this unless you check it out at home when you run out of horror movies to watch to get you hyped for Halloween.

#GoreTownMalaysia / #MyFamilyJules / #HarminBrando / #WhenHeRise / #SeeHowTheyShun / #DieLand

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