As autumn cools down the air, piping hot folk horror comes in season to warm up fright fans everywhere. Director Miles Doleac’s Demigod arrives just in time to get your wood-carved druidic dread on. It oozes with the earth-toned antiquity and elegance that are the mainstays of the folk horror subgenre. Set in the Black Forest in Germany, the film opens with a woman in her nightgown (Sherri Eakin) running through the woods at night. She is surrounded by three witches: the one-eyed Hettica (Lindsey Anne Williams), the comely Latara (Elena Sanchez), and the impish Fell (Sarah Fisher). They rip open her gown to reveal her pregnant belly. The witches then gut her and pull out the infant adorned with tall horns on its head.
Jump ahead to modern-day when Robin (Rachel Nichols) returns to the Black Forest with her partner Leo (Yohance Myles). She has inherited her grandfather’s house as Karl (Jeremy London) passed away under mysterious circumstances. Immediately Robin and Leo find a shed filled with the carcasses of mutilated animals. They then run into Karl’s old friend Arthur (Miles Doleac), hunting in the woods with his daughter Amalia (Rachel Ryles). Arthur remembers Robin from when she was little and warns her of the strange things in the forest, such as ancient runes carved on trees and weird folk art cropping up.
“…the kidnapped people run through the forest being chased as prey by the hulking horned shadow…”
Robin is haunted by childhood memories of the woods she cannot quite grasp. But their dire message comes too late, as the three witches return and round up Robin, Leo, Arthur, Amelia, and some strangers to sacrifice the horned god of the hunt (Chukwuma Onwuchekwa). As the kidnapped people run through the forest being chased as prey by the hulking horned shadow, some nasty choices are made for survival, and the bodies start to pile.
Nearly half of Demigod is in German, including most of the witches and Amalia’s dialogue. This, along with the Black Forest setting, led me to believe that this was a European production. However, I did some homework after my viewing and discovered I had been completely fooled. The whole thing was shot in Mississippi with the actors playing Germans. This includes Doleac, who I thought was an actor from Germany cast to get foreign funding. Actually, he’s a native of America’s Deep South and directed, co-wrote, and produced the film through his company Historia Films.
"…let the pumpkin spice-flavored blood flow!"