Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Demons 2 (1986)

For anyone who'd like to read my review of Demons first . . . . . . . . here it is. Demons 2 is a lot of fun. It's not as much fun as Demons, and it's not an accomplished movie in many ways, but fans of the first film will have a lot of fun here.

The plot, what little there is of it, sees a bunch of people in an apartment block scared to death when the place is infested by demons. It really puts a dampener on the birthday party being thrown for Sally (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni) and provides an unexpected extra workout for the folk who are in the gymnasium based on a lower ground floor (motivated by the great Bobby Rhodes).

With plenty of extra, vulnerable people to watch out for in this instalment - a pregnant woman, a child - it's clear that this movie wants to up the nastiness of the first movie. But it simply can't. The first movie was such a great premise, and had such a great selection of characters, that this sequel fights a losing battle every time it tries to provide something that's "the same, but different."

Director Lamberto Bava (who wrote the script with the same collaborators who helped him write the first movie - Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini and Dardano Sacchetti) does great with his mix of style and sleaze. The movie may seem a bit slow to start, but the first time a demon enters the apartment building via a TV screen is a highlight of the movie, and a moment I remember from seeing the trailer years ago. A trailer that made this movie a must-see. From then on, things step up a gear. Blood is spilt, mutations occur and there's an absolutely bonkers scene that tries hard to wring tension out of a woman fighting a slimy demon muppet creature. It's a shame that we spend more time outwith the main building for no discernible reason, but I'm sure they were just trying to break up the main set-pieces and stretch out the budget. Perhaps.

The acting isn't great, but everyone involved is happy enough to get caught up in the demon infestation so that's really all that counts. Tassoni is particularly poor in her early scenes, I'm afraid, but David Knight and Nancy Brilli are better, with the latter playing the pregnant woman who is one of the most vulnerable during the demonic invasion. I already mentioned the great Bobby Rhodes being great, and there's also a very young Asia Argento acting scared as chaos and death surround her.

With a number of cast members returning from the first movie, another great '80s soundtrack and impressive gore effects during the scenes in which people transform into demons, this is an easy film for fans of the first movie to enjoy. It's definitely a return trip to a well that didn't hold much water in the first place.



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