Demon Hunter: A Review
by Luce Allan
After her younger sister is murdered, Taryn Barker is recruited by a secret organization of demon hunters, who rescue her from a satanic ritual that leaves her with powers from a demon who ensnared her. As she trains to defeat the demon, Falstaff, who has pursued her ever since, Taryn is arrested during a hunt and finds herself face-to-face with Detective Ray Beckett, who failed to find her sister's killer during the investigation years earlier. In Demon Hunter (2016), Taryn and Detective Beckett become a reluctant team when Beckett's daughter is taken by Falstaff in anticipation of his ultimate battle with Taryn for her soul.
Demon Hunter is a visual tour de force on numerous levels. The rich colors that pervade the scenes, from glaring red to intense blue, bring to mind the intoxicating use of color in the horror classic Suspiria. The special effects are top-notch, particularly those that were utilized in the creation of the film's demons, who were genuinely chilling. The soundtrack is also excellent, as it amplifies the already-vibrant aesthetics. The collective performance by the cast is skillful and absorbing, with standout performances by Niamh Hogan (Taryn) and Michael Parle (Falstaff). Hogan carries the film's spotlight with ease, portraying a character with equal parts ferocity and vulnerability, and Parle's regal presence is infused with pitch-perfect villainy.
While the film is well-produced and aesthetically stunning, the plot feels standard, acting as a sort of Shadowhunters/Buffy the Vampire Slayerhybrid without bringing new ideas to the table. As the concept of hunting monsters is so prevalent, some sort of creative reimagining is necessary for a project to stand out; Demon Hunter is straightforward with its material, and, unfortunately, does not present an original twist to the story.
Overall, Demon Hunter hits the mark in visual excellence, but fails to contribute a fresh perspective on a popular subgenre.