There's a real life tragedy behind Marcin Wrona’s Demon.
Exactly a year ago, on September 18, 2015*, Wrona was found dead--an apparent suicide--in a hotel room in Poland, where the film was screening at the Gdynia Film Festival.
It’s a painfully sad punctuation to the title, which is an emotionally wrenching, and quietly disturbing look at the Jewish legend of the dybbuk.**
In the film, a young couple’s wedding day is upended by unforeseen circumstances, and in a horror film, “unforeseen circumstances” can mean an air of malaise and unease, as the bridegroom (an excellent Itay Tiran) begins to display increasingly erratic behavior.
While there is a streak of darkly wry humor running through it, Demon is largely an outstanding work of quiet horror, and is, ultimately, about loss and memory (both as a comfortingly bittersweet salve and a burdensome reminder of collective guilt) and the transitory nature of all things.
Which, sadly, leads us back to the real life tragedy of Wrona’s death, and the fact that his passing has robbed global cinema of a promising and talented voice…
* As per imdb.com and Variety; some sources list Wrona’s date of death as September 19.
** The dybbuk was also explored recently in David Goyer’s The Unborn and Ole Bornedal’s The Possession, though in both cases, with a more Hollywood mainstream horror approach.
Parting Shot: The fact that today (or possibly tomorrow) is Wrona’s death anniversary was completely lost on me until I started to write this post…
(Demon OS courtesy of impawards.com.)