Dementer (Movie Review)

History is full of those who have made deals with the devil and changed their minds…always with negative results. The latest film to tackle this concept comes to us in the form of Dementer, which arrived on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 to On Demand thanks to Dark Star Pictures.

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Dementer from Writer-Director Chad Crawford Kinkle (Organ Grinder short 2011, Jug Face 2013), focuses on begotten soul Katie (Katie Groshong: The Plot 2017, 60:00 To Live or Die 2021) and her hope for a better life. After escaping a Satanic cult, she searches for redemption by moving to the country and then taking a job at a special needs home for adults with Down Syndrome – the most innocent individuals of all. Supervisor Brandy (Brandy Edmiston) oversees Katie’s work as Katie develops particular relationships with Stephie (Stephanie Kinkle), and Eller Hall (Eller Hall).

The night shift suits insomniac Katie well, at least, initially, but it’s not long before she’s hearing dark voices. She dismisses this until one of the residents, Stephie, falls ill and isn’t getting better. When Katie reverts to her past, using rituals to try to heal Stephie, she encounters a man named Larry (Larry Fessenden: Wendigo 2001, The House of the Devil 2009) that she believes can help. Instead things take a deadly turn for the worst, and all of Katie’s hopes may be dashed unless she can wake from this nightmare and keep everyone alive.  

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Filmed using a single camera over 14 days, Kinkle’s unique vision of including his sister in his Horror film comes to life with incredible results. His approach makes his story seem terrifyingly real, rather than fiction. In this, Kinkle’s love for his sibling, combined with an obvious passion for storytelling, are the foundations upon which Dementer sits and is likely why it’s an official selection in the Nashville Film Festival as well as the Chattanooga Film Festival. 

Furthermore, Kinkle’s ability to write, produce, direct, edit, film, and partake of every other aspect of making movies, shows great promise. During film school, while watching the movie The Tribe (2014), a story shot in a school for the deaf, the wheels started turning for Kinkle and he considered ways to include his sister in a story with the utmost respect. While films such as 2016’s Hush and Spring Break Zombie Massacre also include special people, they don’t necessarily have the same depth. 

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Overall, Dementer is a slow but steady burn, amping up the tension and horror with every scene. Kinkle emotes a dreamy nightmare, leaving the viewer wondering what’s real and what’s not. Time is non-linear, drifting by in bloody hazes with screams setting the scene. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Dementer 4 out of 5 stars, and highly recommends keeping an eye out for Kinkle’s future works. 

Dark Star Pictures

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