Demon Hunter 2017
Detective Ray Beckett seeks the aid of homicide suspect, Taryn Barker, in rescuing his daughter from a demonic force.
Tony Flynn and Zoe Kavanagh
Niamh Hogan, Alan Talbot, and Sarah Tapes Jenkinson.
Demon Hunter is an entertaining and competent mix of familiar horror tropes o-plenty; imagine an amalgamation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Buffy the Vampire Slayer targeted at the young-adult Hunger Games crowd. The titular Demon Hunter, Tyran (played by Niamh Hogan) is like Buffy and Willow rolled into one: A warrior with mad katana skills and a pocket-full of incantations to keep the creatures of the night at bay. As an Irish flick, this one has the look and feel of Orphan Black along with procedural elements that will appeal to fans of Dr. Who. While this is one young woman’s story, Demon Hunter implies a complex underworld teeming with all manner of supernatural atrocities, not to mention cultish organization prepared to keep the peace by any means necessary. At its core, Demon Hunter is a meditation on regret, vengeance, and the fragility of life.
Official Synopsis: Detective Ray Beckett seeks the aid of homicide suspect, Taryn Barker, in rescuing his daughter from a demonic force.
The film is directed by Zoe Kavanagh from a script co-written by Tony Flynn; Demon Hunter stars Niamh Hogan, Alan Talbot, and Sarah Tapes Jenkinson.
Demon Hunter maintains incredible pacing by beginning the story in the middle, filling in pertinent information through flashbacks as characters march headlong into a confrontational 3rd Act. By starting after the action has begun, the film saves time normally spent on character development and exposition while never excluding information the viewer needs in order to understand the story. We may not know what makes Tyran tick when we first see her decapitating a demon-in-disguise, but we see her development in crucial pieces placed skillfully throughout the film. Our bond with this character grows with each new reveal.
There’s absolutely a coming-of-age subtext beneath every moment in Demon Hunter. The main character is a teenager, forced by tragedy to grow up sooner than most. It was a seemingly innocuous decision: Allowing her younger sister to walk home after school alone; it was only 5 blocks after all. But when she’s kidnapped and violated as part of a ceremonial ritual, Tyran can’t go home again, can’t return to her life of blissful innocents. Suddenly, the ugliness of the world comes crashing in on her, transforming her down to her DNA. What begins as a quest for vengeance turns into a calling, one that offers both salvation and damnation. In order to battle demons, Tyran is forced to become something nightmarish—even to entities of ultimate evil.
While the FX are all decent, nothing really screams “Theatrical!” Rather, everything has a very made-for-TV look; this will make it difficult for many viewers to fully connect with Demon Hunter. But considering this film is obviously targeting the PG-13 crowd, it probably won’t be a serious detriment. While the film is totally enjoyable, it won’t please those looking for a bloody, hardcore horror experience.
Bottom Line: Think of Demon Hunter as a primer for those looking for something slightly more horrific than films from the Twilight or Maze Runner franchises. It features a young woman finding her place in an adult world, holding her own and busting stereotypes. Demon Hunter may not be the Buffy the Vampire Slayer of the 21st Century, but there’s plenty of good stuff here for fans of “horror lite”.