I must admit when I grab a new release and note down its details from IMDb, my heart does sink a little when I glace the synopsis and it begins “six college friends reunite for a weekend getaway…” With The Demented though, it started pretty hopefully with a kick ass track over the opening credits as well as a bright, vibrant look to the movie.
We’re introduced to our six immediately – Taylor (Kayla Ewell), David (Richard Kohnke), Brice (Ashlee Brian), Naomi (Brittney Alger), Sharley (Sarah Butler) and Howard (Michael Welch). They arrive at their accommodation, and are informed pretty handily of that modern day horror plot caveat “by the way, there’s no cell phone reception here”. Is that really necessary? Do writers sit in a room and worry about viewers not taking their film seriously because the characters aren’t using a mobile when they could be. It’s a zombie movie. I’m sure if we wanted plausibility we may opt to choose our films somewhat differently.
Within the first ten minutes our super six are presented with the core catastrophe of the movie – there has been a biological terrorist attack nearby and ballistic missiles are heading for American soil. It’s not long before the first zombiefied intruder comes calling, albeit of the canine variety. They manage to avoid its predatory advances and go about enjoying their evening. The next morning though the slobbering rotting puppy is still outside baying for breakfast, although a baseball bat swiftly puts it out of its misery.
A cursory drive around the surrounding area yields a radio broadcast on a loop suggesting people do not go outside and the area is quarantined. Soon after, David stumbles upon a zombie and this sets up total panic amongst the group and highlights a desperate need to flee the area. However, before they can agree on a decision about what to do, the house is visited by some flesh chomping human’s intent on some college student supper.
Despite my initial scepticism, The Demented actually wasn’t too bad at all. It contains some well applied gore and after its initial predictable horror by numbers approach it does begin to develop and nurture its own ideas. That said, all of the characters are rather one dimensional and save for some boyfriend / girlfriend squabbles, we’re given little embellishment on their background or personality.
I think the film would have benefitted from a slightly smaller scale reason for the outbreak of zombie style creatures. By having a biological terrorist attack you anticipate far more chaos, carnage and populated panic than there actually is. Having said that though, the movie does manage to be relatively tense at times and its scenes of zombies chasing down our students are pretty well shot. Given the popularity of The Walking Dead and the slew of unoriginal, laboured and poorly executed zombie films that have since flooded the market, The Demented has at least got the quality to rise above them – but only just.
5 out of 10