The Demons Among Us (2006)

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A ScaryMinds Event Movie

Director Stuart Simpson
Writers Stuart Simpson
Starring Nathaniel Kiwi, Laura Hesse, Peter Roberts, Hollie Kennedy
Genre Demon
Tagline Pray there is a god

The Demons Among Us, one of a number of titles the movie operates under, is either going to be the best Aussie horror movie you have ever watched or quite frankly the worse ever released. Personally I fell into the second camp as I laboured through an overly arty flick that neon sign posted it's anti advertising message every ten minutes or so. The words I kept coming back to were surreal, drug induced, experimental, and off the planet. Underlining this I simply wrote "why". Simpson's movie is the sort of product you would expect from an avante garde film school that is totally against commercialisation, it's also the sort of undergraduate movie you would fail a student on. Simply put Simpson uses the horror genre without having a single idea about what he is doing in it. Gore for gore's sake doesn't bring home the bacon and Simpson hasn't even left for the shops yet.

Talk us through it

A young man, Joe, moves to the small town of Miranda Falls in rural Victoria to apparently work on a paper about advertising. Country life sure has changed since I ventured into the remote parts of the country. Our young bloke wakes one evening to find a demon attacking his cats, as happens quite often in the outback apparently. Fleeing the feline massacre Joe stumbles onto yet another massacre at his neighbour's house, this time of the human variety. From there the movie gets weird.

Covered in the blood of the demonic victims Joe becomes the Police's main suspect as he tries to work out what the hell is going down, and the audience start playing spot the horror references. An Ad Execute from Hollywood also arrives as the movie descends into a surrealistic nightmare.

Sam Raimi meets David Lynch as Stuart Simpson unleashes the gore, not entirely sure I can do this one justice to be honest.


The Director opens his movie with a kaleidoscope of images anyone that has been in rural Australia will immediately recognise. Loved the yabbie races, that had me humming along early. The first thing that becomes noticeable is Demons Among Us opens in black and white. That had me wondering if I shouldn't adjusted my TV set somehow. Normally black and white scenes are used to convey the notion that these are images from the past, Simpson uses them with no thought as to what he is trying to achieve. But if you think that's the worse you are going to have to suffer through, then just wait till you get a load of the over exposed film and crap transfer quality you are going to be dealing with for the rest of the movie.
Director Stuart Simpson simply shots everything like it's a 1980s death metal clip, guess in some quarters that would be confused with "art".

This one really is a chore to wade through, and a number of times during my ordeal watching even more "arty" scenes I was going to switch the whole mess off and bin the movie without a second thought. If this hadn't been part of a two flick movie event for Scaryminds I would have done so I believe. Your sanity is going to be sorely tested with Simpson's movie and also your desire to watch another DVD horror release from Down Under. Sorry folks this one should simply never have been released.

To get through this movie, as Simpson simply goes buck naked with the special effects and lens filters, I decided to simply spot the horror movie references. It's a game I like playing if stuck with a movie to review that is boring the crap out of me. Okay here's my list:

    Old dude bludging a cigarette reminds me of Crazy Ralph from the first two Friday the 13th movies. Actually got a smile on when he starts asking Joe if he has seen the signs, turns out they are advertising signs and not demonic stuff. The whole demonic thing was channelling Evil Dead, especially the Nicky demon Chick demon climbing through a window, obviously idea taken from Ring Initially I thought the eel toothy thing was referencing Alien but then with the whole body transference vibe I was thinking heaven forbid Simpson is referencing Jason Goes to Hell Was Joe meant to make you think Bruce Campbell?

As allude to previously the whole movie has this experimental death metal video clip feel to it, and no don't worry those bad drugs you took last decade aren't kicking in again. Simpson throws on filters, weird post production effects, extreme close-ups, and some frenetic pacing at stages. The only problem with this is it detracts from what little plot is in the movie and quite frankly makes you wonder who the hell would agree to distribute this cat's puke. Don't get me started on the split screen, if anything even worse than what Rob Zombie produces, or the amateur hour gore effects that you or I could knock up in about half an hour in the kitchen sink. On the bright side you will get a hoot from the demon makeup, did they raid a party shop on halloween to get that gear?

Have I got this up to review length yet? The movie sucked and so does this piece of writing. Guess I'm writing down to Simpson's level of film making. A few items from my movie notes and then I think we can exorcise this from our memories and pretend it never happened.
- Dude in a red dress, covered in blood, holding an axe, how many times is that going to be used as an iconic Aussie horror image. Doesn't deserve it.
- Increased demonic attacks in yet another montage as the sun comes up.
- Why do characters simply disappear for long periods during the movie?
- The film festival people will love this stuff as it's just the right sort of non accessible BS that makes them feel superior to your normal cinema goer.
- Did Simpson have a script when he started this tour de force in how not to make a horror movie?

Nathaniel Kiwi (Joe) was trying his very best to be the Down Under Bruce Campbell, unfortunately the actor failed as he unlimbered more wood than I've seen in a lumber yard. Laura Hesse (Kylie) simply repeated her lines from memory and did the very best job I have ever seen of looking like someone acting in a movie. Peter Roberts (Ed Winters / Senior Sergeant Geoff Harding) can't act and was painful to watch as Ed Winters, though it might have been another Simpson dig at Advertising. And finally Hollie Kennedy (Sally Winters) went with over emoted and hoped for the best. On the evidence presented in Demons Among Us the entire cast should get their applications into MacDonalds sooner rather than later.

If there was any T&A going down I was too comatosed to catch it. Oh wait the eel thing was naked throughout, that's your lot for the day.

Clare Whitcombe handed in a score and should be shot at dawn for that effort. Jarring, discordant, and impacting way too much on the actual movie. Horribly it has that "heard it all before" feel to it, maybe those drugs are kicking back in. Guess a bad movie deserves a bad score.

Summary Execution

Horror is not the genre to go all drugged out experimental, it's bloody hard to pull off at the best of times, and quite frankly looks appallingly bad if it doesn't work in a dark genre flick. The over the top gore might appeal to the rabid fan boys, but for everyone else it's simply an attempt to cover up the weak aspects of a below standard flick. Simpson had a shot at making a memorable totally unique horror outing, he failed, but should be able to walk away from this car wreck and no doubt get Film Australia funding to make even more car wrecks. Stuart if reading, please don't make another horror movie, you really need to know what you are doing to get these things right. No I didn't enjoy Demons Among Us and am dirty we spent budget on this one.

The movie took two years to shot due to the cast and crew only having weekends once or twice a month to work in. This is noticeable in some places with whole scenes appearing to have been cut from the final release print.

Okay I locked and loaded on Stuart Simpson's debut effort because it didn't appeal to me in the least, surprisingly I'm going to say if you get a chance then go grab a screening to see what you think. Remember way back in this review I stated this could be the best ever Aussie horror movies you ever watch. That's the problem with Demons Among Us it's a horses for courses flick that may very well appeal to some readers. It didn't work for me it may work for you.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

Might be worth a weekly rental if nothing much else is on.