Arrow Video FrightFest 2022: Sorry About the Demon Has Nothing To Apologize For

Horror comedies aren’t really my thing. When comedy is involved, I feel like the horror aspect can get diluted. Films like Tucker and Dale and Scary Movie are great examples of how a horror comedy can have a proper mix of both. When a horror comedy can dig its gnarly roots deep into your soul to give you some really well-crafted scares and then lull you into a sense of security with its comedy, that’s when you know you found the right horror comedy. Some genre purists can easily tend to write off horror comedy, thinking of them as lesser films within the genre. If you can find that diamond in the rough, the one that sticks out more than any other, you know you have stumbled upon a real treat.

Will walks around his house on a work call, with a crucifix extended out towards the demon

Sorry About the Demon is a treat from the first to the final frame. Perfectly blending comedy and horror, this film reaches out to touch your soul in many different ways. If I had to put a label on it, I think this film definitely leans more towards the comedy side, but that does not mean the horror aspect is forgotten by any means. Nestled deep in the heart of this tale of unrequited love are some truly unsettling images of horror—images that even some of the more serious genre films try and fail at.

On what seems like just another day of the plateauing life of Will (Jon Michael Simpson), his girlfriend Amy (Paige Evans) is fed up with his inability to follow through with anything; she thinks his life will consist of nothing besides making midnight cake pops and getting yelled at by customers about the salty toothpaste company he works for. After getting kicked out of Amy’s apartment, Will gets coerced into renting out a Victorian-style house all on his own, at a fairly reasonable price. Little does he know that the house was rented to him because of the demon inside. Determined to finally follow through with the choices facing him in life, Will decides he will not let these demons control his life and tell him what to do. Plus he doesn’t have any other place to go, sort of.

Before getting into everything it is a necessity to talk about the writer/director of the film, Emily Hagins. Hagins has been making films since she was a preteen. I’ve seen a few ages touted, but Hagnins’ first feature film Pathogen came out in ’06, which looks like it would make her 14, but from what I could find, it said it was made when she was 12. Over the next seven years she would go on to write and direct three feature films, most notably being Grow Up, Tony Phillips, starring the ever-amazing AJ Bowen. From there, Hagins would go on to write and direct an adaptation of Elisa Ludwig’s novel Coin Heist for Netflix. Hagins also had segments in Chilling Visions: 5 Segments of Fear, the miniseries V/H/S (her segment “Touch” being the highest rated of the four episodes), and also has a segment in the highly popular anthology film Scare Package. To say Hagins not only loves film but has always loved film is the understatement of the year.

A demon child contorts, trying to frighten Will out of the house

If there is one thing evident in Sorry About the Demon, it is the complete understanding of how to not only tell a horror story but also how to tell a comedic story. The fully realized and perfectly executed film shows a complete knowledge of when a specific comedy beat is needed versus when a horror beat is needed. By the end of the film, you do not feel either aspect of the film was lacking; rather, I was left wishing the film was about a half hour longer. On top of the screenplay and the direction, the acting was top-notch. Hagins really knocks the direction of this film out of the park creating an over-the-top and one-of-a-kind horror comedy that will probably not be topped for a very long time.

While there are a few homages I picked up on here and there, unlike the overwhelming majority of horror comedies, Sorry About the Demon does not rely on overt references or Leo pointing at the TV with a beer in his hand moments, as the majority of horror comedies do. It’s easy to play off of already established exceptional scenes of horror in order to elicit a forced reaction from a genre fan; those types of scenes are really only good for alienating a non-hardcore genre fan who won’t get those deep-fried references from that one obscure ’80s Italian flick. Rather, Hagins uses what references there are to help build and establish the world and the characters around it.

As alluded to earlier, it was surprising how Hagins really went for it on the horror front. As much as I love the film A Ghost Waits, the exaggerated responses to the house demon bring me out of the film and make it end up a romantic dramedy. In Sorry About the Demon, the exaggerated responses are built into each specific character from the get-go, so rather than being pulled out of the moment by a specific reaction, you are pulled deeper into it. The film takes a direction towards the end that I did not see coming from a mile away, which is something a horror comedy has never really been able to make me feel: surprised.

Sorry About the Demon is an accessible genre film that will make you laugh, hide, and leave you with a wholesome Truth or Dare grin on your face. This is truly a one-of-a-kind horror comedy. At this point, I think it goes without saying, I cannot wait to see whatever Emily Hagins does next. Not only does she know how to make a damn good film, she knows how to create a damn good horror film.


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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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