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Demon House is the name of the 2018 documentary starring, written by, and directed by Zak Bagans (of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures fame). It follows Bagans and his paranormal investigation crew as they examine a house, known for its haunted history, in Gary, Indiana. The home, purchased sight-unseen by Bagans, has been the flashpoint of many stories involving demonic possession since first being publicized in 2014.
What follows is 111 minutes of documentary footage, interviews with previous tenants, and stylish reenactments that took three years to put together due to high rollover of staff and employees quitting or being fired during the filming.
To be able to review this movie, one needs to know the background of the setting and just what brought Bagans and his crew to Gary, Indiana. In 2011, the Ammons family (Latoya, her three kids and her mother) claimed they were being haunted by sinister spirits at their home within days of moving in. Black flies swarmed the front porch, footsteps, creaking doors, all of which are general haunting phenomenon. Latoya’s mother, Rose Campbell, claimed to see a “shadowy figure of a man” pacing in the living room, leaving behind a boot print. Soon enough, the malevolent force in the home became physical against the Ammons family. Campbell claimed she was choked by an unknown presence. The oldest of Latoya’s children, a 12-year-old daughter, claimed to have levitated above her own bed during a sleepover but had no recollection of the paranormal event. Latoya’s nine-year-old son claimed to have been thrown across the room by an unseen entity and her youngest son was said to growl cryptic messages like “I will kill you” and “it’s time to die.”
Six months later, the Ammons, with a growing concern for the welfare of the residents of the home, contacted their physician, Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu, and upon inspection, he noted the family’s behavior as “delusional.” The police were notified and the children were taken to the hospital for observation. This of course gets the attention of the Department of Child Services (DCS), who promptly got involved. The end result being that the DCS believed that the children were merely performing for their mother. Sensationalized versions of the story were picked up by various publications where accounts of Latoya’s youngest child allegedly walking up the wall backwards only served to build interest in the supposed haunting.
Within days, the family hired Father Michael Maginot to perform an exorcism on both the house and the family. He believed that the family was being tormented by demons and agreed to perform multiple exorcisms in both Latin and English. Later that year, the family moved to a new place in Indianapolis and the happenings stopped.
That’s the story of the Demon House. It would seem that whatever was taunting the Ammons family was relegated to that specific home, or else it would have followed them to Indianapolis. Therefore, it makes perfect sense as to why, in 2014, Bagans would purchase the home. It would be like buying a ghost with good customer reviews on eBay. But then he tears it down in January of 2016, as a way of protecting the rest of us from the true horror and insidious danger therein.
I did not like this movie. I felt it was unnecessary. There is a flooded market of “documentaries” that don’t actually document anything of worth. All of the paranormal evidence given in this movie, much like in the show Ghost Adventures, is subjective. Zak finds himself again and again under the control of aggressive forces that only he can sense, or the cameraman becomes a destructive mess for reasons known only to him. For a house that is one of “America’s Most Haunted,” one would think that there would be more evidence than anecdotes and loose dirt under the basement stairs. This movie ends up being an extended episode of Ghost Adventures with a few more F-bombs and zero payoff. The worst part is that we, as the curious public, cannot go to this house to get our own evidence. Bagans tore it down and whether that was to protect us from demons or protect his reputation from accusations of fraud is another question. Nevertheless, much like a stale bag of chips that has been open and closed multiple times, this movie was empty calories.