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Demon

Quebec Premiere
Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival 2015, Paris Polish Film Festival 2015, New Directors/New Films 2016, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2016, Imagine Film Festival 2016

“[Wrona is] attempting to make a serious movie within a genre framework, and he succeeds in balancing the right amounts of fear, humour, and grotesquerie” – Diana Dabrowska, CINEMA-SCOPE


Londoner Peter (Itay Tiran) arrives in the Polish countryside, set to marry his best friend’s sister Żaneta (Agnieszka Żulewska) at their parent’s beautiful (if slightly creepy) country house. They’ve generously given the young couple the residence as a wedding gift, but it needs a lot of fixing up. Digging up the yard one day, Peter stumbles upon what seem to be… bones. He puts this out of his mind, gets suited up and ties the knot. Things are going well, the night is exuberant and boozy. Yet, as it progresses, Peter’s health starts to deteriorate into increasingly frantic misbehaviour. First attributed to nerves, then alcohol, his attitude slowly, but surely gets out of hand, however, to the point where the possibility of a supernatural cause cannot be dismissed…

This festival favourite from late Polish director Marcin Wrona offers an ingenious twist on Jewish folklore and myth. Tackling complex ideas — whether the feeling of confronting life’s big changes, or of the lurking national and political histories that bubble to the surface once families are united under the same roof — DEMON is dense with illuminating metaphors, and rich with moments of unsettlingly quiet horror. Adapting the play ADHERANCE by Piotr Rowicki, Wrona stages the most deliriously hellish wedding since Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA and Vinterberg’s FESTEN. He also crafts here a film of tremendous intensity, an unraveling ballet of horrors through which Poland’s repressed past can be examined. Finally, the tension keeps building until it is truly unbearable, and DEMON proves to be one of the most smartly staged horror films of the last year, carried by incredibly physical performances that should leave you gasping for air.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer

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