Christopher Proeh says Demon Juice is a horror short that isn't his cup of juice but it will make you chuckle.
DEMON JUICE is the second short film by writer, director, and producer Shannon Brown. The horror-comedy takes place at an Airbnb rented out by four girlfriends, Amy (Allyn Pintal), Nia (Anastasia Washington), Gigi (Annelise Dekker-Hernandez), and party crasher, Debra (Madeline Wager), spending a weekend getaway together. The night begins with a discovery of Demon Juice and all hell breaks out.
Debra, the spontaneous and unpredictable one out of the bunch, finds an old box inside the bottom of a kitchen cabinet and discovers a bottle of Demon Juice. The concoction is, “30% alcohol and a ton of caffeine.” The women make a toast and Debra downs the Demon Juice. Amy, who isn’t fond of Debra, says she wants to have a classy weekend with the girls and for none of them to blackout. Later, Debra’s eyes go white, her skin turns purple, and she transforms into a demon as the girls get ready to enjoy the night. The girls find themselves trapped inside working to figure out what’s happening and how to stop it.
Brown uses comedy effortlessly in her short film. Some of my favorite scenes include the girls considering doing a puzzle together as “real fun” and Debra configuring the puzzle pieces upside down. Nia venting about her job calling her ninth-graders horny. Debra’s BUI (Boat DUI), and the girls claiming Deb’s possession is just stigmata, worst still, “titmata,” and the useless customer service number on the Demon Juice bottle.
DEMON JUICE differentiates characters on a surface level. Amy is paranoid, packing self-defense gear which includes a hammer, Nia is obsessed with her boyfriend, Gigi is a vaper, and Debra is a high-energy wildcard. While Brown gives each woman an identity, it is hard to favor one, although we can relate to Nia who is unsatisfied with her job, and always looking for better opportunities. The performances left something to be desired, but I definitely wanted to care more about each of the characters and the friendship between Amy and Debra. The film has made the rounds at several film festivals and at the Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival, it served as a finalist for Best Director. Brown’s second short film, although it’s not my cup of juice, definitely made me chuckle a few times.