Dementia follows George, an elderly war vet who, after being diagnosed with dementia, must live with an in-house nurse (Michelle) with sinister intentions. He is forced to determine what happenings in his house are caused by his dementia or by the malevolent behavior from his live-in nurse. With the help of his estranged granddaughter, George tries to solve the mystery of Michelle's plans before it's too late.
The war vet angle isn't unusual in the horror genre. One of the more enjoyable films that comes to mind is House (1986). Dementia is nothing like that movie, so I don't know why I brought it up. Or perhaps I was just trying to reminisce on a movie I was entertained by...
Gene Jones plays George. His acting is the highlight of the film, as it is primarily a claustrophobic psychological thriller, and depends on its lead to carry it. Kristina Klebe, our live-in nurse Michelle, doesn't hold up quite as well. Subtle malevolence on screen is an evanescent fine line. It's terribly difficult to balance properly, and unfortunately Klebe falls short because she comes on too strong, killing all of the mystery-momentum that really dissipates fast.
Gene recently played Father in The Sacrament, a film based on the Jonestown Massacre. His role in that film was chilling and memorable, where here you get a less haunting delivery due to an overly slow pace and drawn out mystery. Frankly, the film is uneventful sans the final 10 minutes or so, and while one scene was enough to stay in my head for days after, the rest of the film wasn't enough that I would find myself recommending it.
Dementia lacks intensity in all facets outside of those last 10 minutes. There just isn't enough tension built, and the laxidasical directing and weak script keep anything from pulling you in. I do think the payoff is there at the end. It was delivered decently. But the path to get you there is all daisies and fairies by horror/thriller standards.
Horror Qualifier: 5/10
Horror Quality: 2/10
Film Quality: 3/10