Oh boy, Denver microbudget filmmaker Dakota Ray has made yet another lo-fi Satanic horror movie! This time it’s entitled The Dark Days of Demetrius. If you haven’t been blessed with the unique opportunity of watching one of Ray’s films, Demetrius is as good of a place to start as anywhere else. Most of Ray’s films are thematically identical. There’s metal, Satan, drugs, sex, and murder aplenty in all of them.
What I can say about The Dark Days of Demetrius is that Ray’s camera work has improved vastly since American AntiChrist, which I reviewed last year. The concept itself is interesting too. The film follows Demetrius (played by Ray), The Livestream Killer, who you guessed it, kills people while recording for the whole internet to see. One of the victims’ families calls him a coward which causes him to write an open letter that contains photos of him with the victim. Simultaneously, a reporter, Clive (Fred Epstein) decides to start killing people for headlines and to pin the murders on Demetrius. Clive interviews Demetrius for the local news and we go on a violent Satanic journey from there.
“Simultaneously, a reporter….decides to start killing people for headlines and to pin the murders on Demetrius.”
At the end of the day, however, there are some choices that Ray makes in all his films that drive me insane. First of all, he always changes his voice to a low demonic pitch that I cannot stand. Plus the amount of gratuitous violence, such as a cat being put in a microwave just so Clive can get more site visits, and more than one dog death on behalf of both killers leaves me wishing I had spent an hour folding clothes or reading the dictionary from the beginning, word for word. Not to mention the glorification of suicide and murder with no real answers for the behavior, and honestly, I could go on, but in fairness to the filmmaker, and without making myself sound like an old lady who can’t handle horror, I’ll stop. I can say that unlike his previous films, this storyline is a little more fleshed out and actually attempts to make the characters three dimensional. It’s just a little eye-roll-worthy. The characters are very on-the-nose and there’s a lot of declarations instead of the film just showing us what the intentions of both murderers are.
Overall, The Dark Days of Demetrius makes me exceptionally uncomfortable. The self-mutilation, the bodily fluids, that voice, the overall lack of relatable characters, the incredibly cheesy dialogue…it’s all too much for me. However, I think that in some ways Ray is trying to make social commentary in the most extreme way possible. I think that maybe after a couple more tries, he might make a movie I like. If he could just ditch the voice and let go of the Satanic angle for maybe half the film, he might have something. I will always hand it to him that he doesn’t give a shit and keeps making movies, which is a lot more than most people do. If it weren’t my job to give a critique of the movie, I’d leave it at that. However, that isn’t the case.