Demons. Evil incarnate. None more so than Satan, himself. These beings of fear and destruction have been the subject of decades of movies. Here are the hottest films in the genre, in our Top 10 Demonic Movies To Give You Hell.
10) The Cleansing Hour (2019)
You can’t believe everything you see online. At least, that’s the case when it comes to this reality TV priest and his televised exorcisms. He has a world following of adoring fans who tune in religiously to watch his show. But he’s the furthest thing from saintly. Now, his made-for-TV battle with the demonic, is about to get a taste of the real thing.
This recent addition to the genre, has gone unnoticed by many. It began life as short film of the same name, but was expanded into a feature-length movie. While the short version was good, the full-length movie is even better. So, we can be glad that writers Damien LeVeck and Aaron Horwitz were willing to give full life to their vision. Well worth checking out.
9) Demons (1985)
Dario Argento is definitely a film maker with his own, unique style. This movie starts off very much in that style, but as it continues it becomes progressively more insane. By the end of the film, it’s practically like watching a heavy metal album cover come to life. But that is definitely not a criticism.
This film takes another angle on the demonic. These demons work under werewolf rules. One scratch or bite and you’re turning full demon. So, these demons are multiplying and the stakes just keep rising.
Set in a cinema, during an exclusive showing of a new horror movie, reality starts to reflect the events on the big screen, until the audience is trapped in a hell-spawned nightmare.
8) Deathgasm (2015)
A horror-comedy that lands in that hardcore space where the infernal intersects with heavy metal. It’s a New Zealand comedy, so it has a very distinct kind of humour, that gives a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Plus, a good helping of obscene blood and guts.
When a bunch of small town metalheads decide to start a band, they accidentally summon the king of the demons and plunge their town into the heart of the apocalypse. They’ll fight hard with everything they’ve got, to under the trouble they’ve caused.
7) The Last Exorcism (2010)
A found footage, mockumentary style movie, following the final days of a hockey southern exorcist, as he tends his final case. Though his exorcisms may be fake, the belief people have in him is very real. But this last case will challenge his cynicism and make him risk it all to save a possessed girl.
The ‘possessed child needs an exorcist’ plot, has been done to death over the past 40 years. But The Last Exorcist gives a fresh coat of paint to it, along with a few new twists.
Should I watch the sequel?
Yes, totally. As usual, the sequel is not as good as the original, but it’s still fairly good.
6) Devil (2010)
A group of strangers trapped in an elevator. One of them is the Devil. As the lights flicker on and off, one by one they begin to die, sewing suspicion and paranoia among them. Meanwhile, emergency services try to free them and a police detective, watching on camera, tries to work out which one of them is the killer.
Despite how recently it was made, this film is often forgotten about by horror viewers. But it holds up well and is worth a re-watch for those who may have let it slip their mind.
From the pen of M. Night Shyamalan, the movie weaves story with the kinds of twists and turns that we’ve come to expect from Shyamalan, including a “twist” ending that audiences have learnt to see coming. Though, the twist in Devil is less about audience shock and more about story resolution, which makes for a satisfying ending.
5) Little Nicky (2000)
One of Adam Sandler’s best films. The Devil (Harvey Keitel) is left in a terrible state, after two of his sons jam up Hell and go to wreak chaos on Earth. So it falls to Nicky, the Devil’s youngest son, to bring them back and return order to Hell. Nicky has a heart of gold and not a lot of worldly sense, so standing up to his evil big brothers, will not be an easy task.
This movie has everything you could ask for. Heaven, Hell, boob-headed demons, pineapples, and Rodney Dangerfield as a retired Lucifer. What’s not to love?
4) Fallen (1998)
The devil is all around us. He could be anyone you meet on the street, a stranger on the bus, your boss at work, or even your best friend. That’s the theme of this film and it is made quite unsettling.
Denzel Washington is detective John Hobbes, whose career height has been the capture of serial killer, Edgar Reese. With the execution of Reese, Hobbes is ready to close the book on that chapter of his life. But when the murders start up again, detective Hobbes has to face the possibility that the killer may not be human.
Potentially very creepy and likely to get stuck in your head.
3) Devil’s Advocate (1997)
The demonic isn’t always gore and savagery. Sometimes the Devil is subtle and insidious. That’s what we get in Devil’s Advocate.
Keanu Reeves is an up and coming lawyer, who has never lost a case. He gets invited to join a high-profile law firm in New York, so moves there with his wife (played by Charlize Theron). But the owner of the firm, played by Al Pacino, has a special interest in him and the cost of that attention might be his very soul.
With Pacino, Reeves, and Theron heading the cast, this movie is a masterclass in acting, with each of them playing their parts to perfection. Pacino, in particular, is a brilliant Devil and Theron’s sense of cascading despair and unravelling sanity, is excellent.
2) Hellraiser (1987)
Including Hellraiser is a little bit of an artistic call. As the movie says, “demons to some, angels to others”. The interesting element of this film is that the demons (called Cenobites) are not explicitly the villains of the story. Certainly, they’re not “good”, but these demons abide by certain rules and those rules can be exploited by those who are smart enough.
From the mind of Clive Barker, the story of Hellraiser centres around the Cotton family, particularly daughter Kirsty and villainous uncle Frank. Frank acquires a mystical puzzle box, which has the power to open the doors to hell and summon the Cenobites. He solves the puzzle box and is taken to hell. But after Frank is accidentally summoned back, hell follows in his wake. It is up to Kirsty to save herself and her father.
Should I watch the sequels?
Yes, absolutely. The first sequel, Hellbound, is definitely worth watching and continues the story from the first movie. The third and forth sequel are also enjoyable, but beyond that they range from entertaining to straight up trash.
1) The Exorcist (1973)
Younger viewers might wonder why this movie was so shocking when it was first released, as compared to some modern movies, it can seem less extreme. But if you can detach yourself from that and immerse yourself in the plot, you’ll find that the fear is just as tangible now, as it ever has been.
The Exorcist is about a young girl who gets possessed by the Devil. It was the first movie to explore that theme and it did it so well that there have been many imitators, ever since. The key to its success is the idea that nobody is safe – not even a sweet, innocent, young girl. To see someone like that become this corrupted, evil thing, is truly monstrous.
Extra points if you manage to get your hands on the director’s cut, with the infamous “spider walk” scene.
Should I watch the sequels?
Well, maybe. As one might expect, they vary greatly in quality and none are as good as the original. You may enjoy the prequel, Exorcist: The Beginning. You could also check out the movie Possessed, starring Timothy Dalton, which is a dramatisation of the real story that inspired The Exorcist.
There are a lot of demon movies out there and not all of them could make it into our Top 10 Demonic Movies, but here are some honorable mentions that came close to making the cut.
American Satan (2017)
Newly formed hard-rock band, The Relentless, are doing all they can to make it big, out in Hollywood. Then they get the chance of a lifetime, when Satan offers them everything they want.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Based on a true story about a parish priest put on trial for the death of a girl, who died during an exorcism. This movie presents two different lenses on the same event, leaving the audience to decide where the truth lies.
From a House On Willow Street (2016)
It was supposed to go like clockwork. Get in, grab the girl, get the ransom money, get away. But this criminal enterprise has chosen the wrong target.
What do you think of these movies? Are there other demon movies that you like? Let us know in the comments!