Malefice: A True Story of a Demonic Haunting is a chilling documentary that should be on the list of paranormal investigation fans. I’ve seen several ghost-hunting shows in the past and most of them lost my interest early on. This was not the case with Malefice, as it had many positive features which drew me in as a viewer.
This documentary follows Sean Austin, a demonologist and paranormal investigator, along with his friends and fellow investigators Dave Spinks and Eric Conner. It begins with an introduction to how the haunting began. In 2015, Sean investigated a home in Ohio and encountered a demonic presence that he believes followed him for approximately five years. The presence was upset that Sean helped to release the trapped souls of women who were tortured and killed in the house.
Plagued by the presence and concerned for the spirits that may still be trapped, Sean returned to the home in January of 2021. This time he was with Dave and Eric, as well as a documentary film crew. What followed was a further investigation and an exorcism of sorts to rid the house of the demonic presence.
Overall this documentary was well done. The setup was great, and the story captured my attention early on. The filmmakers included enough history on the house and background regarding their initial investigation, which kept me watching and wondering about the conclusion. Their reports of the initial investigation in 2015 built the initial tension and then it intensified upon the three-day return visit in 2021.
As I’m not well-versed in paranormal investigation methods and devices, I appreciated that Sean, Dave, and Eric provided explanations of how each of these worked. While I still found myself skeptical of the authenticity, I have to say that the voices coming through on their devices were much more clear and believable than those I’ve heard on other shows. At times, the recorded voices were very chilling.
The production of this piece was solid, featuring a nice balance of scenes (day vs. night, inside and outside the home, interviews vs. observation). I also enjoyed the accompanying score, which added to the tension in the right spots, and the insight provided by others familiar with demonic hauntings and paranormal entities.
The backstory on the house itself was very interesting and tragic, and I would’ve enjoyed knowing even more about it. I’m not sure it was possible to fit all of that information into this one documentary, but if there were enough material to make another, I’d definitely watch it to learn more about the case. Not only is there a possible story about real people who lived and died in the home, but there’s more to explore in regards to the supernatural entities involved, such as the demon Moloch.
While I believe that demons and ghosts may exist, I’ve never encountered any myself, and still balance my belief with a fair dose of skepticism. My only complaint regarding the documentary is that it was missing some input from those who might be skeptics. Everyone involved in the investigation and interviews was a strong believer in the paranormal. Interviews with more experts—maybe historians or locals familiar with the area and the house—would’ve made things more balanced in that regard.
This is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of paranormal investigation, especially in demonic possession and hauntings. I myself look forward to seeing more from director Billy Lewis as well as the investigators involved.