District 9 director made the movie during lockdown.
Neill Blomkamp
Credit: IFC Midnight

In writer-director Neill Blomkamp's film Demonic (out Aug. 20) a young woman unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades old rift between mother and daughter are revealed.

"The main character is a girl whose been estranged from her mother," the District 9 and Elysium filmmaker tells EW. "During the course of the film she gets sort of reunited with her mother and we learn about some crazy back story that she wasn't aware of. I would say it has a crossover between science fiction and horror."

Blomkamp shot the film after the start of the pandemic.

"The whole planet was shutting down and the plans that I had for other bigger films were put on hold," says the British Columbia-based director. "Living out here in this slightly more rural area I was thinking we should self-finance something so that we could make something cool. For a long time, I've been really interested in films like Paranormal Activity, and lower budget stuff that is pretty terrifying, and so we just started working on this concept. It grew and it got bigger than films like Paranormal Activity but it was cut from the same cloth really. So that's what it is. We made use out of a lot of the locations out here and just shot it through the summer."

The cast of Demonic includes Carly Pope, Chris William Martin, and Michael Rogers.

"The cast was a group of people who I really like, everything coming from this feeling of wanting to get people to together and shoot something that we were in control of," says Blomkamp. "It made me look through the catalog of actors that I had worked with [on] our experimental Oats Studios YouTube stuff. I worked with Carly Pope on a few Oats pieces so I immediately thought she would be great for female lead. It was a pretty cool close-knit group of friends working on something."

Blomkamp is not the only director who made a horror film during lockdown. Last year saw the release of Rob Savage's Zoom-set chiller Host while Kill List auteur Ben Wheatley put out his own shot-during-the-pandemic terror tale in April.

"With Ben Wheatley it's pretty fascinating because a mutual friend of ours is Sharlto Copley [the star of District 9], who starred in one of Ben's films," says Blomkamp. "I was saying to Sharl that I was shooting this smaller horror film out here and he was like, 'Ben's doing the exact same thing in England.' I emailed Ben and I was like, 'Are you also shooting a COVID horror film right now?' and he was like, 'Yes, yes, I am.' So that was pretty awesome. It's a genre where you can be really creative and fairly experimental at a low-budget level. I think it was a perfect time, when people were on pause, to play around a bit in the genre."

IFC Midnight will release Demonic in theaters Aug. 20. and on VOD/Digital Aug. 27. Exclusively see first look images from the film below.

Credit: IFC Midnight
Credit: IFC Midnight

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more. 

Related content: