Demon House follows real-life paranormal investigator Zac Bagans as he investigates a house that was home to one of the most recently and well-documented cases of haunting/possession in the United States. Upon purchasing the home for himself, Zac then studies the framework of the home and interviews eye witnesses and victims of the home.
Demon House Review
I suppose it's difficult to review a documentary that is actually attempting to be a real documentary. I'm generally a skeptic when it comes to documentaries like these because the profit-to-evidence ratio leans to the deceptive. Zac is most famous for his work on the TV show Ghost Adventures, and I've seen more parodies of his work than respectful recollection. It makes it difficult to take things with more than a grain of salt and without a chuckle.
The attempt at dramatic effect is laughable most of the time and in my opinion hurts the overall legitimacy of the documentary. Go all-in or go all-out. If you're going to have dramatizations, go all-in on the dramatizations. If you are going to research facts and interview eye witnesses only, don't bother with the goat-head man-suit or trying to catch ghosts in the dark. The documentary, which is Zac's style, is too awkwardly a mix between the two.
Perhaps the most obvious detriment to the whole project was Zac's willingness to openly document the bickering and profiteering of the possession story. Zac documents himself losing access to the family that experienced the possession by means of a big money deal with another company. He goes into more detail, by then investigating the legitimacy of their claims. The whole experience has me split down the middle...do I blow off this documentary because of the seemingly fickle spitefulness, or do I respect the fact that he's willing to be so truthful about the financial incentive behind lying about demon possession?
It makes the legitimacy of the whole film suspect at best, but perhaps that is a reason to respect it. Zac didn't leave anything out, including that information which would harm his case. Having said that, the attempts at creating actual possession and paranormal events on camera is awkward to say the least and unbelievable to all but the least susceptible to Zac's methods.
Documentaries like this don't hold a candle to pieces like The Nightmare or Cropsey because it's so hard to take seriously. It seems to damage itself too often, and it simply becomes a pointless hop-scotch of fact-checking that never turns up anything but the conventional "I just felt something", "I feel weird", or "what was that blur?" It's not the documentary style that attracts me, lacking a respect for the paranormal experience.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 4/10
Film Quality: 3/10