ⓘ Demon, 2015 film. Demon is a 2015 Polish horror film written and directed by Marcin Wrona. It was shown in the Vanguard section of the 2015 Toronto Internationa ..

Demon (2015 film)

ⓘ Demon (2015 film)

Demon is a 2015 Polish horror film written and directed by Marcin Wrona. It was shown in the Vanguard section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was Wronas last feature film, as he committed suicide on 19 September 2015 while promoting the film at a Gdynia film festival.


1. Plot

Piotr Itay Tiran, who has been living and working in England for many years, and Zaneta Agnieszka Zulewska, a Polish lady, are to be married; they had met only over the internet, but he knew her brother. Piotr speaks Polish awkwardly, remembering more from his ancestors than from personal experience. He moves into a run-down large rural estate previously owned by Zanetas grandfather.

While digging in the yard with a backhoe right before the wedding, Piotr finds a skeleton, which at first he keeps quiet about. He is increasingly haunted by the vision of a woman in a wedding dress - Hana. During the wedding reception this vision draws closer and closer to him, and he has apparent seizures. He is eventually possessed by Hana, the woman in the dress. Zanetas family is well-to-do, and they want to keep his breakdown quiet from the rest of the wedding guests, so they distract their guests with vodka and loud music while locking Piotr in the basement, first with a doctor, then a priest. Finally, the "teacher" Wlodzimierz Press, who appears to be the only surviving Jewish resident of the town pre-war, realizes that Piotr is speaking Yiddish, and that he is possessed by the spirit of Hana, a lovely Jewish girl he knew before the war who suddenly disappeared.

The film is a re-telling of a classic dybbuk story and also an allegory for Polish-Jewish relations before and after the war. It is implied that Zanetas grandfather may have gotten rich in part by "possessing" this property once its former Jewish residents were gone.


2. Cast

  • Agnieszka Zulewska as Zaneta
  • Adam Woronowicz as Doctor
  • Maria Debska as Hana
  • Itay Tiran as Piotr Pyton
  • Katarzyna Gniewkowska as Gabryjelska
  • Tomasz Schuchardt as Jasny
  • Andrzej Grabowski as Father of Zaneta
  • Tomasz Zietek as Ronaldo

3.1. Reception Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Demon holds an approval rating of 92%, based on 66 reviews, and an average rating of 7.4/10. Its consensus reads, "Ambitious and beautifully shot, Demon delivers a gripping -- and sadly final -- testament to the singular talent possessed by director/co-writer Marcin Wrona." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".

Chuck Bowen from Slant Magazine gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, writing, Demon offers a tidal wave of unrelieved longing and regret, with a devilish streak of absurdism." Giuseppe Sedia of the Krakow Post noted that the character played by Israeli actor Itay Tiran turns out to be "the most tormented groom ever seen in Polish film". He added that "the distastrous reception is drenched in vodka just like the banquet displayed in Wojciech Smarzowskis The Wedding but purged from any black comedy". Jake Dee from Arrow in the Head rated the film a score of 8/10, writing, "Shot with a steady and sure-handed formalistic lens, played with credible pathos by all involved, belled with a quizzically unnerving score - despite the humor hampering the horror at times - Demon is a bold and balefully bedeviling Polish delight!" Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times praised the films cinematography, and called it A bravura testament to a talent silenced far too soon.". Joshua Rothkopf from Time Out awarded the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing, "Nailing a tricky sense of physical anarchy as well as some far subtler domestic tensions, Marcin Wrona’s Polish import is an eerie, extraordinarily poised piece of horror."

The film was not without its detractors. Joe Leydon from Variety commended the films atmosphere and absurdist humor, but slammed the films third act. Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly rated the film a grade C, writing, "Heavy on atmosphere and symbolism but light on actual scares, director Marcin Wrona’s generically titled Demon is a so-so meditation on historical amnesia. It’s also so weighted down with mysticism and metaphor it forgets to quicken your pulse or whiten your knuckles." The film was also a victim of vote brigading on IMDb.

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