Setting aside its generic and misleading title, Marcin Wrona’s Demon is a very eerie tale of possession, and a testament to what can be done without special effects. Peter (Itay Tiran) is young man who moves to a gloomy Polish village to marry Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska), whom he’s only spoken to a few times on Skype. Her father (Andrzej Grabowski) disapproves, but still bequeaths them the decrepit ancestral home and throws them a big wedding. Unfortunately, after coming across a buried skeleton on the property, Peter begins to show signs of being possessed by a Dybbuk, a dead soul from Jewish folklore that latches onto the living. The movie that should have been called Dybbuk would be worthy just for the astonishing physical performance by Tiran as the possessed Peter, but the film doesn’t suffer when the focus shifts toward the other characters in the third act and becomes Zaneta’s story by the end. In addition to being a meditation on modern Polish identity, Demon manages to use the trope of the scary, dark-eyed ghost lady without ever resorting to cheap jump scares,while also suggesting that there ain’t no wedding like a Polish wedding, cuz a Polish wedding don’t stop. Even when the groom has been possessed by a restless ghost.
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