ATTACK OF THE DEMONS
Starring: Katie Maguire, Andreas Petersen, Thomas Petersen, Eric Power, August Sargenti
Directed & Animated by Eric Power
Written by: Andreas Petersen
Animation has always been ignored during festivals, and I never understood why. There has been a slew of animation that has popped up and showed people, “Listen, we’re a medium too.” Even seeing Tribeca, I went to a slate of animations, ‘cause those are usually the best ones at the festivals in the way of shorts. I can’t write off animation. I love it too much. With Attack of the Demons, you have that South Park feeling with a twist. Yes, it might be cardboard cut-out animation, but that doesn’t stop it from being the gore-ridden good time that comes to be.
In 1994, a small Colorado town puts on a music festival for Halloween. This year, things are a little bit different; up in the mountains an apocalyptic event is starting to form. A cult is ready to set things into motion where a giant demon will take over this little town. It’s up to three friends to come together and save the town, and themselves, before all hope is lost.
Knowing that this film was the only animated one in the slate caught my attention immediately. The South Park-esque vibe is immediately felt, but it blossoms into its narrative immediately. Eric Power’s not only director but also animates and gives a voiceover. He’s working triple overtime for this movie, and it pays off spectacularly. The direction is slow-paced, but builds up and takes you on a rollercoaster. Power keeps these natural cinematic beats that allow you to get to know the characters while fully immersing you in the narrative as a whole. You can tell how much love and attention he has for this project in the animation style alone.
With the animation, it’s on a whole other level. Everything moves and flows almost effortlessly. You’re taken back by some parts (see above) and engaged. I was taken aback by how much went into this movie. I’ve seen the process video of how stop-motion is done, and it takes the patience of a fucking saint. Power, in his animation, killed the visual style of a small town and the grossness of the demons taking over the town and turning them. I want to take a time-out to praise Power on just how much high-key patience this had to have required.
Both the style and story remind me so much of Demons by Bava & Argento. It has that sort of “one thing sparks an entire incident and one turn can turn everyone.” There’s so much cause and effect in this film that it took me by surprise how much was in it. Writer Andreas Petersen also does some great work with the script and overall natural flow of the narrative progression.
Though I don’t love some of the dialogue, I loved when the three main characters got together. It felt as if three friends were actually talking to each other. Two of my favorite scenes were them talking about the different media they love and them venturing to go through the woods. The friends reflecting on their history with the town and their personal likes is a calm and soft touch between all the demon stuff happening around them.
The voice actors did a bang-up job. Some of it felt a little stagnant, to be honest. It just felt like you were taking the journey with the characters, and the voice actors made it feel like you wanted to be their friends. One more thing I want to praise is the soundtrack. The soundtrack set a lot of things in motion and kept things moving along. John Dixon did a bangxup job with the score (I’m still humming sounds as I write this). Also, Many Birthdays made the sounds for the fictional band ‘Teek’ and ‘Banshee Riders’ incredible. ‘Teek’ may honestly be my new favorite shoegaze band.
Attack of the Demons is such a gory, demon-filled ride that you will not want to stop. Some heartwarming, cinematic, crushing, and insane moments happen throughout this movie. All laced by some great narrative, incredible directing, smooth animation, and a dope-ass soundtrack. If you have the chance to see Attack of the Demons, run; don’t walk.