‘The past won’t stay buried’
3 Demons is a 2022 American horror film about a burnt-out cop who inadvertently awakens evil forces when keeping watch over a dead body.
Directed, co-produced and edited by Matt Cunningham [aka D.M. Cunningham] (The Spore; The Mangler Reborn; Decampitated) from a screenplay co-written with Peter Tell. Also produced by Keith Golinski and Brian Hillard.
The Cold Winters-Night Prowler Video co-production stars Peter Tell, Haley Heslip, Zoe Cunningham, Laura Golinski and Jovonnah Nicholson.
For nine vacant years, Deputy James Fisher (Peter Tell) has wrestled with the loss of his wife and only daughter, struggling to find colour in a world gone grey. During a routine call, he is tasked with keeping watch over the body of a recently deceased woman until her family can arrive and claim her.
Allowing his curiosity to get the better of him, he inadvertently concludes an unfinished ritual. The conjuring now complete, strange and sinister forces begin to target him. Using his own mind as a weapon, James is banished to a maze of torment. As his past is unearthed, he’s forced to face his own demons with terrifying consequences…
Horror fans will already be familiar with the work of director Matt Cunningham, as he previously helmed Decampitated, which has earned a minor cult following among genre aficionados. Cunningham took a decidedly less comedic route for his latest feature, a confounding psychological horror-thriller called 3 Demons, which will likely have most viewers scraping their heads by the time the end credits roll. A significant portion of 3 Demons was intentionally left open to interpretation, so do not expect to be spoon-fed plot details. However, you can look forward to a mind-bending tale of suspense which will leave you with about a million questions on your mind, which will probably never be answered.
Peter Tell stars as Officer Fisher, a small-town cop assigned to guard a dead body out in the woods before the deceased’s family arrives to collect the corpse. And while his assignment may sound simple enough at first, strange things soon begin to occur in the forest where Fisher keeps watch over the body, leaving the hardened police officer to question his own sanity as he begins to see and experience things which seem like they could not be real. These bizarre occurrences include the body seemingly moving on its own accord, apparitions of Fisher’s former partner appearing before him and discussing what they would have named their unborn child, and an inexplicable demonic creature lurking in the woods and occasionally showing up to menace Fisher.
On the other hand, Fisher’s female colleague, Officer Winters (Haley Heslip), also appears at regular intervals to check up on him. Although her behaviour gradually grows more unhinged, leading him to also question if she is nothing more than a figment of his imagination. Not only does Winters aggressively order Fisher to dance with her in an abandoned cabin they find out in the woods, but she also seems to be in league with the malevolent forces responsible for the sinister occurrences, yet the exact nature of her involvement is never specified.
Although much of 3 Demons is intentionally left open to interpretation, Tell’s strong and dedicated performance as an officer seemingly losing his grip on reality will still keep less dedicated viewers interested. Fisher is clearly a law enforcement official who is used to being in control of difficult situations, so the way in which he gradually starts to feel more and more helpless and vulnerable as he was bombarded with endless supernatural occurrences will leave us feeling sympathetic towards his plight. Tell was able to convey his character’s gradual descent into madness in a believable and almost tragic way, making us ultimately hope for Fisher to come out on top.
Modern audiences are used to experiencing stories with significantly more straightforward narratives, so the ambiguous nature of 3 Demons might be off-putting to some. But at the same time, Cunningham expertly crafted a tale of madness and suspense revolving around a lone police officer being menaced by supernatural forces while he watches over a dead body within the woods, and the mounting feelings of dread and helplessness audiences will experience throughout the film will likely have them questioning their own sanity by the end. It certainly is not a tranquil viewing experience, but horror fans looking for something a bit more psychologically challenging will probably have a great time with 3 Demons.