Well, yesterday we talked DEMONS, and today we’ll be talking DEMONS 2, from the same creative team (Argento producing, Lamberto Bava directing) as the first, so don’t worry, it still has all the potential to kick ass.
I’m actually a bigger fan of the sequel than the original. In the original they were trapped in a movie theater, no way out, one by one they became demons. However, there wasn’t any good character work. There’s the two leads, and that’s it. Whereas with DEMONS 2, we get to know several characters and hope they all live (spoiler alert, not all of them do). Also, the patient zero demon in this film plays much more like a villain. We follow her constantly, and in the end she is the demon to beat in order for everything to return to normal.
Another thing I liked better than the original was the location. DEMONS takes place in a movie theater, a large movie theater, but a movie theater nonetheless. DEMONS 2 takes place in a ten-story high rise of condos. This leaves many more places to hide, more scene backgrounds, and with the added distance between people it makes sense that not everyone would know about it right away. DEMONS 2 has a disaster movie feel to it. We’re given an ensemble of characters and when things go sideways we want each of them to get out. Which of course, can’t happen.
In the original, the demon scourge began with a simple cut, DEMONS 2 is a bit more out there. Several people around the high rise are watching a program about a team of twentysomethings break into the no-no section of the city where the demons were (whether this is real or not, I do not know, they don’t do a good job explaining it) at one time. This time, as a girl is having her birthday (can’t remember her name, but she’s the main demon), but is taking time out to watch the program. As she watches a demon return to life, it seems to see her as well. It walks right up to the TV screen and ‘breaks through’ into reality, turning her into a demon. So DEMONS 2 may be a little more far-fetched than the first. What does it matter, though, because arguing which is more realistic is out the window when you say the word ‘Demon’ just once.
Oh, and did you miss the pimp from the first film? Well you’re in luck because he’s back! He’s a different character, but he’s back!!! He is now the man in charge of the weight room, and much like he rallied the scared people in DEMONS, so too, does he do the same here.
DEMONS 2 is also the first film of Argento’s daughter, Asia Argento, it is hard to tell if she dies in the film as it doesn’t show it. However, it’s heavily implied she won’t make the finale of the film. I’d say this was a nice thing for Dario to do for his daughter, not kill her on camera. However, in a later project (THE STENDHAL SYNDROME), he directors her in several rape scenes. Way to go dad (gross)!
There’s nothing quite as funny then seeing a ton of demons with shiny eyes running down a hallway, moving as a pack to find and pick off the weak. One of the weak is a little boy. At the beginning of the film he answers the phone and says his parents aren’t home, and that he is home alone. Basically just begging to get robbed and raped. Luckily, that kid doesn’t make it far, he’s too stupid to survive.
The stakes are slightly raised this time around, as well. One of the protagonists is pregnant. Does anyone have the balls to kill a pregnant woman? Well, to find out about that you’ll just have to watch.
The biggest drawback of DEMONS 2 when compared to DEMONS, is that Demons got out of the theater and started causing chaos city wide. In this sequel, they are all stuck in the ten story condos building. I was a big fan of the ending of DEMONS where they finally got out of the frying pan, only to realize they’ve gotten themselves into the fire. In DEMONS 2, there really isn’t a fire to speak of. When two of our protagonists escape the building, there doesn’t seem to be anyone outside. Empty, quiet, streets. The lead demon follows them into a recording studio.
The ending of DEMONS 2 is great, and thrilling. I like it better than DEMONS in that respect. The tension, and body count is also larger, and in a horror movie, who can complain about that! My favorite part of the movie is the demon that comes out of the TV towards the beginning. It’s the same trick they used for Freddy coming out of the wall in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The demon pushes his/her way out of the TV screen, which becomes not glass, but a rubbery/latex blend, allowing the demon to stretch out of the screen and fuel more than a few nightmares in my youth. Unfortunately don’t see the POP of the demon actually bursting into reality, which would have been very rewarding. Instead it cuts away to the birthday girl trying to get out of her bedroom, she turns back around and DEMON!!!
One of the problems with DEMONS 2 comes towards the end. All of the demons are dead or dying except birthday-girl-demon who makes it to the room to try and catch the survivors as they repel down the building. There’s a shot of the demon running that feels rather dream like. Then there’s a shot of the survivors repelling down the building. Then there’s another shot of the birthday-girl-demon, but this time she has an OBVIOUSLY fake background behind her that looks a little old-time-west. What? Where did that come from? How does that make sense? I’m afraid I just don’t get it.
The final confrontation occurs in a TV studio (also completely empty) and once birthday-girl-demon is finally dead. She…tries to come back by running towards the screen of about fifteen monitors behind the set, but again she’s running from the western fake backdrop, AGAIN!!!
To get the ultimate win, the man (again, don’t remember name) destroys all the monitors so she can’t come back in our world through the TV. I’m gonna nitpick here because I enjoy this film and I’ve got to be honest about its flaws. If the only demon that popped out of the TV was the TV of the birthday-girl-demon than that would mean that nobody else would have known how the demon entered reality. So how does the hero immediately know when he sees her on all the monitors that if he doesn’t smash them, she’ll find her way back into reality? Was it bad writing, a lucky guess, random destruction of other people’s property? We’ll never know for sure. But it’s a question that bugs the crap out of me. In an otherwise great horror film that gives a satisfying twist to the zombie genre, there’s just that one question forever to be unanswered.
Anyway, find yourself a copy of both DEMONS and DEMONS 2 and make a night out of it. They’re quite enjoyable and deliver some decent scares.