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Neill Blomkamp says Covid-19 was like "science fiction"

South African-Canadian filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has garnered an international following for his cinematic dissections of xenophobia and societal prejudices. Known for his celebrated sci-fi films like District 9, Blomkamp has received accolades as well as critical acclaim for the unique techniques employed by him in his visual narratives.

Since last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world in many unprecedented ways, which have had undeniable impacts on the creative processes of artists. Many filmmakers have already tried to translate their experiences to the visual medium, with a notable example being Bo Burnham’s recent Netflix special Inside.

While looking back on the bizarre events that brought the world to a halt, Neill Blomkamp had this to say: “This last year has been interesting. When we were in the height of it, it felt like we were in some sort of science fictionalised version of reality that was just tilted a bit off to the side. And I’m definitely used to that.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Blomkamp did not sit idly and decided to utilise the time for filming his new project in British Columbia. Titled Demonic, Blomkamp’s new sci-fi horror film revolves around a woman who releases evil supernatural entities. It was screened in March of this year at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The director said: “There’s just no way I would have made this film if it wasn’t for Covid-19. With other stuff not happening, for one reason or another, I wanted to make a smaller horror film during the pandemic and I hit on this idea of glitchy virtual reality technology being used by coma patients. 

“What would happen if you put a demon into that? Would the coma patient be possessed or not? Where’s the demon in relation to them, inside of their mind? Is it in the simulation?”

Signature Entertainment’s Demonic opens FrightFest 26th August and is at UK Cinemas, Premium Digital 27th August and Blu-ray and DVD 25th October.