While Montreal is in the throes of a string of kidnappings targeting young boys, ten-year-old Felix is finishing his school year in the seemingly quiet suburb where he lives. A sensitive boy with a vivid imagination, Felix is afraid of everything. Little by little, his imaginary demons begin to mirror those of the truly disturbing world around him. Felix's story continues as part of Philippe Lesage's subsequent feature, GENESE (GENESIS), also available from Film Movement.
- "The doubts, fears, and yes, horrors of life beneath the comfortable surface of a Montreal suburb are subjected to the quizzical, pained gaze of a sensitive 10-year-old in Philippe Lesage’s laconic, unsettling The Demons. Via cool observation, a studied but not glacial pace, and a troubling yet compelling atmosphere of permanent unease, this rewarding, thoughtful second feature from an erstwhile documentary maker blessed with a coolly quizzical eye asks major questions about what kind of world our paranoid, neurotic society is making for its children."
- "Fevered imagination and nightmarish reality brush shoulders to disconcerting effect in “The Demons,” Quebecois filmmaker Philippe Lesage’s extraordinary examination of childhood fears festering in broad suburban daylight. Putting his documentary training to disciplined use as he teases out the largely internalized insecurities — sexual, social and practical — of his 10-year-old protagonist, Lesage initially balances good-humored humanism with a formal sangfroid suggestive of a summer-brightened Haneke. A provocative shift in perspective at the midway point, however, calls the irrationality of those young neuroses into question: It’s a gambit that ... leaves little doubt as to the expertise of the film’s directorial manipulation. A competition standout at San Sebastian, this difficult but frequently dazzling film promises still heftier work from its helmer...."
- "...easily one of the best Canadian films of the year...."
- "This film isn’t just ‘shocking’, it’s profoundly frightening in a way that only a skilled, thoughtful craftsman can succeed in. Finding equal anxiety in the paranoias of the human mind and the threats of our surroundings, this is the coming-of-age film at its most fiercely un-nostalgic and the horror film at its most cunningly abstract."
Awards & Recognition
Golden Gate Award
San Francisco Int'l. Film Festival
International Debut Award
Göteborg Film Festival
San Sebastián Int'l. Film Festival
Best Motion Picture
Canadian Screen Awards
Achievement in Direction
Canadian Screen Awards
Best Directorial Debut