Damon (2006)

Damon is a decent little supernatural morality tale that aims a bit higher than many other shoestring-budgeted “urban” horror movies of the early 21st century (Vampiyaz, Zombiez, Bloodz vs. Wolvez, etc.) and manages to hit that very, very modest target. Yes, the bar is low, but there’s at least a grain of ambition, intelligence and authentic human emotion here buried beneath the layers of amateurish camerawork, choppy editing and subterranean production values.

Akim Black stars as Damon, a lovable loser who lives with his God-fearing Aunt Mary (Cheryl Gadsden). He used to attend church with her but has since fallen off the God wagon in favor of trying to hustle his way into some money. His latest venture, selling stolen TVs, finds him dealing with a shady local gangster named Ciscirri (Dave Vescio). Knucklehead that he is, Damon tries to backstab Ciscirri, only to find himself “front shot” by the gangster.

On his deathbed, Damon hears a gravely voice that offers to save his soul from Hell, and he accepts. His wounds suddenly heal, and he pops up, bright eyed (literally, as is blue contact lenses), bushy tailed (not literally, although that would’ve been more fun) and possessed by a demon.

Demonic Damon sets out to get revenge on the guys who shot him, only to unwittingly set them up to become possessed by other demons who have a bone to pick with Damon’s demon because he…kept Damon’s soul out of Hell, I guess, or maybe the demon escaped from Hell? I don’t know; a lot of the reasoning in this movie was hazy, in no small part because of the muffled sound and unintelligible dialogue.

There’s also a Latino priest named Michael who (Guile Branco) who plays the Ahab role as someone who’s got a score to settle with the demon, plus Damon’s obligatory damsel in distress, Tonya (Nedra McClyde), who unfortunately doesn’t do much despite giving the most (perhaps only) natural performance in the film.

That the lead character’s name is Damon isn’t coincidental; this is an unsubtle film, as the title character has to face his literal demons in order to redeem himself. Like Damon himself, the script has some obvious flaws, but its bones are solid, and it has a heart. And thankfully, a short running time. It’s an earnest debut from writer-director Eric Richardson-Hagans, which is more than can be said about a lot of horror movies that feel like attempts to bleed genre fans out of a few bucks.

A scene from the horror movie Damon
“Why, foliage, WHYYYY????”
A scene from the horror movie Damon
“What? This is my formal t-shirt.”
A scene from the horror movie Damon
“So, Ice Cube and Cornel West had a one-night stand…”
A scene from the horror movie Damon
“Hi, have you considered Mephistopheles as your lord and savior?”
A scene from the horror movie Damon
“Just let me choke you one more time before I go…”

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