It’s been six years at this point since the last narrative feature from director Neill Blomkamp, 2015’s Chappie, but fans of the South African sci-fi futurist will be thrown a lifeline in August with the upcoming release of Demonic, which also released its first trailer today. The IFC Midnight film looks to be a fusion of low-budget horror with Blomkamp’s trademark sci-fi musings, although the trailer below is a bit difficult to interpret. It seems to contain segments of virtual reality that might make one think of the machine/technology in Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor, but the fusion of “demonic” theming with a reality altering machine almost evokes the basic structure of the epic bomb that was Exorcist II: The Heretic. Somehow, we have a feeling that Blomkamp would probably prefer to avoid that particular comparison. The official synopsis, meanwhile, simply says the following:
A young woman unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed.
Clearly, looking at the trailer below, it’s easy to see that there’s a lot more going on than just that. Demonic was shot in the middle of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, in British Columbia, Canada, and its low-budget look and feel makes one wonder if this was perhaps an exercise for Blomkamp to stretch his creative muscles and remain busy while eyeing bigger projects. He’s been attached to many films over the last half decade, often being rumored for projects that never pan out. He’s still possibly making another sci-fi film titled Inferno and starring Taylor Kitsch, but there hasn’t been much news on it since late 2019, thanks to the pandemic.
The simply titled Demonic, meanwhile, sounds a bit too much like a zero-budget Netflix original for our taste, but hopefully Blomkamp’s directorial presence will carry it to more interesting territory. The film is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on Aug. 20, 2021, and will hit VOD a week later. Check out the full trailer below.