After having cult hit status placed on their awesome horror film Demons, writer-producer Dario Argento and director Lamberto Bava team up again a year later to make Demons 2. This sequel reintroduces the same savage and gory carnage and B-movie sensibilities that were so prevalent in the first Demons. Some of the original actors are also back, if in different roles (for instance, the take-charge pimp in Demons is now a take-charge gym instructor). One negative I noticed right away is that they did away with the hard-hitting heavy metal soundtrack, going instead with a softer rock music selection, to the movie’s detriment.
The plot, such as it is: A documentary covering the last demonic plague is being shown on television. Meanwhile, in an imposing, multi-level apartment structure called The Tower, a birthday party is being held by merry soon-to-be-slashed-and-ripped-victims. Sally, the birthday girl, falls into a snit when she finds out her ex has been invited and goes to her room, where she proceeds to watch the documentary (which is always more fun than partying). In the documentary, four foolhardy teenagers venture into the zoned-off demon territory and inadvertently resurrect a demon. The demon does his unsanitary thing and then somehow turns his attention on Sally, who, at this stage, pretty much has a “Say, what?” look on her face. There is a cool-for-its-time f/x as the demon emerges from the TV set and infects Sally, who then does the same favor for her revellers, who soon do the same for the tenants of The Tower (including a gymful of exercisers who get more of a workout than they bargained for), who, in turn, do th– oh, you get the picture.
This is the kind of movie where no one is safe. You know the extras will get their tickets punched, but most of the featured cast also meet violent, disgusting, Rated R endings. Some of the people you think might pull thru, don’t. And vice versa. But part of the fun is in not knowing who makes it thru intact and who gets turned into yummy tasty demon fodder. You try not to get too wrapped up in anyone in the film, because it’s hard to invest in a character, only to watch ’em later get disappointingly ripped into raw meat strips and then demonified. Having said that, there is a clear cut hero who makes himself known in the latter stage of the film. I did think, going into this film, that cute dogs were exempt from demon incursions. Color me wrong.
We won’t even go into the acting, other than to mention that if you take a cheese grater violently to a B-movie actor, you’ll scrape off enough cheese to start your own pizza parlor. Coralina Cataldi Tassoni as the first real-time infectee Sally does gain some minor notoriety. Asia Argento, Dario’s daughter, has a small part as a young girl. Hackneyed horror devices run rampant here, such as acidic demon blood eating thru the floors, folks being trapped in confined spaces (elevator), false jeopardy followed speedily by real jeopardy, and even a hokey salute to Alien. The plot – well, the acidic demon blood must’ve gotten to the plot, as well. There are several unnecessary scenes shot with Sally’s and one little boy’s respective parents outside the apartment building, as well as a retread of the original film’s useless, going-nowhere scenes of a pack of black, leather-clad hooligans who spend most of the movie driving fast in a car.
So what does that leave? Well, it does leave the one thing that matters most to hard-core horror fans – mindless, gratuitous, graphic scenes of rampaging, dentally-uncouth demons on the attack, various victims undergoing their ghoulish, vein-popping changes, and demons violently getting their comeuppance. Pretty cool also was the backlighted shot of the stalking, glow-eyed demons, which pays homage to that same memorable scene in Demons.
The extra features come with an audio commentary by Director Lamberto Bava, Mechanical Creations & Transformation Artist sergio Stivaletti, and journalist Loris Curci. There are also a theatrical trailer and several talent bios.
The smartest thing I saw in Demons 2 was when the little kid ventured into Sally’s apartment, noticed a door slowly opening, and instantly got out of Dodge. Luckily for us horror film consumers, not everyone else in the film showed the same initiative and good sense. Three and a half acidically dripping stars.