Let’s face it, the demonic possession niche in the horror genre will always be viable, but it’s hard to make these films fun in the same way that Evil Dead or Dead Alive did, making those films cult classics.
But, in 2018 writer/director Brad Baruh took a shot at putting some old school fun, and nonsense, into his film ‘Dead Night‘.
What makes this film enjoyable is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a campy, fun, and sometimes nonsensical excuse to tell a brutal horror story of murder and demonic possession.
Sprinkle in some possible cult like aspects and sacrifices, and you have yourself Dead Night.
In the movie, James (A.J. Bowen) and his wife Casey (Brea Grant) load up their two teenage kids, along with their daughter Jessica’s (Sophie Dalah) friend (Elise Luthman), and head out to a remote cabin in Oregon for a weekend trip, which turns out to be some sort of healing retreat for those with terminal illnesses (James).
The movie doesn’t do a ton of backstory, nor does it go a long way to develop any background for the characters, but this is why these movies work, because they don’t try to be anything but an excuse to see campy horror.
When the family helps an injured woman, Leslie Bison (Barbara Crampton), who happens to be running for political office, found in the woods, things take a turn for the worse as the woman is somehow tied to a cult and is only interested in impregnating a host with a demon seed.
The movie does a lot of “back and forth” between past, present, and post-murder, which makes it a bit fun to keep up with and shows the clear line between the “reality” and the “assumptions”, but toys with the viewer into deciphering the answer for themselves.
Demons, brutal kills, a group of old women that hang out in the woods killing random folks, and a challenge to viewers to decide what is really going on, is what makes Dead Night fun, campy, and entertaining.
Chances are, if you’re not a horror movie buff, you won’t be too fond of this flick.
But, if you are, this is the kind of entertainment you can appreciate.