by David Cornelius
“Demon Hunting” is the second of two J-horror flicks getting imported by Laguna Productions, the Latino-centric video distribution company that recently opted to branch out into the Asian frightfest business. The first title acquired by the company was “Ghost Gate,” an unwatchable snooze; “Demon Hunting,” another shot-on-video-for-homemade-appeal loser, is just as bad, if not worse, yet this time, it’s a form of awful so hypnotic in its stupidity that you can’t quite turn away.This is a failure for the ages, a mess to rank alongside such titles as “Monster A-Go-Go,” “The Astro-Zombies,” and any random Ed Wood picture in terms of overwhelming incoherence. Nothing in this movie makes the tiniest bit of sense, and it’s that level of bumbling incompetence and WTF? lunacy that makes “Demon Hunting” a perfect Bad Movie experience.
Example: The plot, such as it is, has something to do with mass killings throughout the city, and something about people turning into demons, or whatever. Two teen girls and their skeevy professor (a dude who flaunts the fact that he’s slept with every female student in his class) find themselves trapped inside their school. I dunno, the demons have locked them in, or who knows what. Much is made of how they can’t get out, and they have to come up with a plan to escape. Their plan? Open a door and walk outside. Brilliant!
But wait, there’s more! Once outside, after walking around for a while, they encounter one, maybe two “demons” (identifiable only by red tongues, which they stick out like Gene Simmons-esque zombies - sure saves on the makeup budget), then run back inside the school.
The best I could figure it, the story involves one of the students finding the body of a murdered girl at school on the eve of some demonic plague striking the city. There’s some connection to a chain letter going around, while flashbacks reveal the girl herself may be a demon, or maybe not. She has a crush on Professor Skeevy, because she’s the only one he hasn’t molested yet, and she’s jealous. Could her inner rage be fueling an entire city’s destruction?
Could be. Frankly, even though the finale (offering up the last in an unending series of twist endings) slams on the brakes to over-explain everything that’s happened, I still have no idea what was going on at all. You could probably watch this twelve times in a row and never figure it out.
And maybe you should, if grinning at pure senselessness is your bag. You could marvel at such sights as the Basketball Game of Death, in which the girl faces off against Satan (I think) in the most awesomest game of Horse yet; the constant retreat into cheesy melodrama for repetitious flashbacks; the squirm-worthy attempt to bring 9/11 into the fold; and, best of all, one girl’s obsession with movies, which leads to the most absurd non-sequiturs imaginable. After the basketball scene, she cries, “This is like ‘The Truman Show,’ right?” Earlier, out of nowhere, she completes a thought from five scenes ago, randomly shouting, “I just remembered! Travolta’s movie! It was ‘Mad City’!”
The dialogue is insane throughout, although some of this may be the result of sloppy translation (the original Japanese soundtrack was unavailable for review, so I had to slog through a dopey English dub). Whoever’s to blame, hats off to them, for they have managed to mangle one of the most recognizable rhymes in history: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest lady in the world?” Wow.That about sums up the whole movie right there. Head-scratching in its awfulness, eye-rolling in its pointlessness, “Demon Hunting” (there’s not even any hunting in the picture!) is the sort of head-on collision of grand ambition and total lack of talent that makes for the most confounding of all cinematic catastrophes.
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originally posted: 07/18/07 16:15:54