OSW Review | IFI Horrorthon 2016: Demon Hunter

IFI Horrorthon 2016: Demon Hunter

Ahh, an Irish horror, introduced by the director! She mentioned the difficulties of getting financing, and shooting/funding the film herself AND THEN selling it afterwards (so it’s truly an independent Indie film!). Two weeks before they scheduled to start, their main actress pulled out, and found another. It gives you an idea of where to place your expectations.

Cast/Crew: Directed by Zoe Kavanagh, starring Niamh Hogan as Taryn Barker.

Plot: A Police Detective enlists the help of a self-professed “Demon Hunter” after his daughter has been kidnapped by a familiar cult.

Thoughts on the film:
• At the screening, although it felt like a lot of people were friends of the Director or in the business (actors, writers, film students etc) i.e. not there for Horrorthon…It was a packed screening though, even more impressive as it was at 11:30pm.
• Em, throughout Demon Hunter, you’re reminded of the incredible time and monetary constraints. I don’t want to give out as I want to support Irish horror films…but it feels wrong to give this film a pass but not others. All I could think of is that it must be incredibly hard to get a film made. Like I don’t create something from nothing, I review already-recorded wrestling shows, and films sometimes. So that this got made in the first place is an accomplishment. But that shouldn’t be the level to aspire to!
• I tried my best to put the film in perspective, i.e. dismiss the low budget, and just go on writing, acting, direction, plot… but I just wasn’t digging it. You notice lots of little things; like the Detective wearing jeans, I bet they’re actually his jeans. There’s a scene with a priest that was burned alive but it looks like empty sheets with a tiny skull and random hands. It’s hilarious. It’s a shame the film plays it serious, might be the way to go with a limited budget.


• The colour grading in the trailer makes it look way more expensive than the final film. Lots of harsh neon lighting, and combined with the Gothic techno, felt like an Irish version of Underworld. It’s supposed to be a superhero action flick. Bit of Resident Evil in there too as Taryn’s the ass-kicking lead.
• The name “Taryn” is from Taryn Manning and “Barker” is from Clive Barker. I know the actress was brought in with 2 weeks before shooting but I didn’t buy her as a ‘professional’ demon hunter. She actually has tae kwon do training I believe, but I didn’t believe it with the fight choreography and even down to her awkward running. Some lines were really corny, e.g. when she stern-faced says “I am the darkness in the night” I just don’t believe it. But ya gotta make do with what you have.
• I liked that they filmed all over Ireland, including Tullamore, Westmeath and Dublin of course.
• Also the prosthetics on the demons looked good!
• Demon Hunter is a revenge tale where younger sister (Annabelle) was abducted and taken by a cult headed by a man called Falstaff, and the same is befalling the detective which caught her. I liked the backstory of the sister being kidnapped and finding her. It was funny to see the actress in heavy makeup and dress up like she was a decade younger, a smoking teen outside the school!
• The film trudges along –there’s about half an hour where they gather their things for the final battle– and I just wanted it to be over. If anyone from the production is reading this, sorry! Not my cup of tea.

Overall: I just wasn’t into this genre film at all. Maybe I wouldn’t have liked a big budget version either. I really didn’t like it, but I’m glad it was made.


Release Date
November 6, 2016