By: Jolie Featherstone
Miles Doleac’s latest feature, Demigod, is an elegant entry into the folk-horror genre.
Robin (Rachel Nichols) and her husband, Leo (Yohance Myles), a young American couple, venture to her late Grandfather’s home in Germany’s renowned Black Forest. Covered by the consuming tree canopy in a home littered with skulls, bones, and carcasses, Robin anxiously recalls family tensions and a traumatic childhood experience that tore the family apart. As night descends over the dark forest, it becomes clear that they are not alone and a dark secret is about to be uncovered. An ancient entity of the wilderness and his clan have arisen. Something wicked truly this way comes.
A Pagan feast for the eyes, Demigod is a smart, understated folktale for the modern age. As seen in Doleac’s earlier work, The Dinner Party, he is a truly passionate historian (indeed, he holds a PhD in Ancient History!) with a keen interest in spirituality and religion, the Occult, mythology, and gender discourse. He brings this lens to Demigod as well. For those who enjoyed the intense cat-and-mouse hunt of The Dinner Party, you’ll enjoy the survivalist game of Demigod.
Harkening back to ancient belief systems, we see women working together and collaborating to achieve their missions. Both mortal and mythical, hero and villain – the relationships between women in this film are refreshing and unencumbered by convention, particularly the relationship between Robin and a young girl named Amalia (Rachel Ryals).
The practical effects, as well as make-up and costuming that bring to life the creature and his servants, are well-done. It’s refreshing and exciting to see a dedication to practical effects in modern horror. It feels particularly fitting here as we move through this primal world. Much of the imposing stature of the creature is enhanced through the powerful voicework of Chukwuma Onwuchekwa.
The film at times relies too heavily on dialogue, which can cause the audience to get lost in the wording. That said, all of the performances are committed and energized, Yohance Myles’s performance in particular beamed with charisma and authenticity. Sarah Fisher’s performance as Fell, an Earthly witch, was excellently physical. I would love to see her in a theatrical, live performance.
Adorned with haunting beauty, Demigod makes for a sophisticated addition to your autumn watchlist.
Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:
Jolie Featherstone: @TOFilmFiles