Demon Squad follows Nick Moon (Khristian Fulmer, The Night Shift), a paranormal private investigator and his new hired hand Daisy O’Reilly (Erin Lilley, The Night Shift). Nick quickly realizes that the task he was hired to complete is more involved than he once believed and he loses himself in a quest to keep the world from ending.
Demon Squad has a lot of strong components. What struck me the most was that this was not an origin story, but rather in medias res. In medias res, by definition, is a narrative work opening in the midst of the plot. But in Demon Squad, this means that the viewer is seeing Nick in the middle of his career rather than the middle of the storyline. Nick Moon is a fascinating character who has already established himself in the local scene of demons, ghouls, goblins, etc… And instead of bogging viewers down with this information, Demon Squad makes the choice to show us instead.
There are several interactions between Nick and a police detective, as well as various demons (including a demonic madam) that inform the viewer he has a history with these folks, even if the details aren’t explicitly mentioned. Further, upon beginning investigations, Nick already has methods, tools, and a system that show the viewer he is much more than a gumshoe detective. This world that is shown throughout the film and the way Demon Squad presents it reminded me a bit of the John Wick universe and how (as the viewer) you put together the nuance of the hitman underworld through John Wick’s interactions.
Aside from solid world building, Demon Squad’s greatest strength is that of its actors, both protagonists and antagonists. Everyone in this film put a lot of heart into their performances. The chemistry between Nick and his love interest is believable enough that it creates legitimate tension when there is conflict. Moreover, all the villains, demons, and other paranormal entities of the film really embrace their roles. I felt both horrified and moved by their presence. There is genuine loss in the flick (no spoilers) and because of the journey that I had with these characters I was invested to the point that it was legitimately upsetting.
Overall, Demon Squad is an independent horror feature that is indeed worth your time. The colorful world presented as well as the fantastic characters and storyline all provide a stepping stone for a hopefully expansive greater universe.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Thomas Smith
Writer(s): Erin Lilley, Thomas Smith
Stars: Khristian Fulmer, Erin Lilley, Leah Christine Johnson
Release: Available now on DVD and on demand. (Full list here)
Studio/ Production Co: Fighting Owl Films
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror