Demons 2, 1986.
Directed by Lamberto Bava.
Starring David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, Asia Argento and Bobby Rhodes.
An apartment complex descents into blood-soaked chaos as a demonic invasion terrorises and transforms the residents.
A few weeks ago, we took a look at Demons, a hugely cheesy slice of Italian cult horror that mixed gruesome, gory effects and a heavy metal soundtrack into a gloriously absurd concoction that had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat after a bong hit. So imagine my delight when I found out there was a sequel. And now imagine my crushing disappointment as we take a look at Demons 2, a film that somehow took everything glorious about the first film and pisses it up the wall.
As with the previous instalment, Demons 2 was shot with a European cast later dubbed into English, so I don’t feel that I can fairly critique the acting. Although I will say this; the voice acting is bloody atrocious and, unlike the first film, not in a silly way that you can, at least, laugh at. In fact, given the amount of screaming and complaining that goes on, the dubbing makes many of the dialogue scenes fucking unbearable. Scenes set within a trapped elevator is a particular ordeal as one of its occupants spends every second screaming in what feels like a concentrated effort to finally push me over the edge. On the plus side, the badass pimp (the wonderful Bobby Rhodes) from the first film re-appears, this time as a badass fitness trainer. I guess he only pimps on the weekend. And, like in the first film, he’s just about the only competent character. Rallying his incredibly stupid and whiny troops with his bossy demands before meeting a slightly silly death brought on by his overpowering desire to kick ass.
The story makes very little sense and is downright head-scratching as it seemingly implies that the events of the first film actually happened. Yet despite the world appearing to collapse into a literal demonic apocalypse, things somehow got resolved with enough time having passed that TV docudramas are being made about it. I suppose it’s cheaper than going the post-apocalyptic route. Yet even with a plot as silly as this, things get even more confusing as TV docudrama, much like “film within a film” of the first film (take a shot every time I say “film”) bleeds into the real(ish) world and turns those watching into monsters. A film about demonic zombies really shouldn’t be this confusing, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one.
The stupid story I can forgive, after all, the first film’s story barely made any sense, but it was still fun. Sadly, Demons 2 is the opposite, playing out as an almost a beat for a beat repeat of the first film, complete with random scenes of people driving around town with only a minimal connection to the main plot. Hell, this time around, the characters in the car don’t even enter the apartment complex where the film takes place.
While attempting to replicate the insane carnage of the original film, Demons 2 barely comes close, feeling instead like it was quickly knocked together to cash in on the success of the first film but with half the budget. And far from having any great set pieces, Demons 2 is filled with scenes that look like they’re about to ramp up the craziness and gives us something on par with motorcycle katana slicing, but sadly we get nothing that even compares to that glorious finale. An extended battle sequence in a parking garage is a rare highlight, with the pimp/fitness trainer blasting his way through demons, but it’s all over soon, and the demons win mainly due to the other characters being thicker than cinder blocks. Perhaps the thing that saddened me the most about Demons 2 is that, compared to the delirious joy of the first, I found this one to be surprisingly boring it featuring far too many scenes spent waiting for things to happen. The film quickly becoming a chore to watch as it sits twiddling its thumbs.
That’s not to say there aren’t bright spots about Demons 2. The gruesome special effects bringing the titular monsters to life are still grotesquely brilliant and stand out as a rare highlight. We get plenty more scenes of claws sprouting from fingernails, sharp fangs erupting from gums and ghoulish scaly eyes that display an infectious sense of manic evil. The effects also allow for the one area where Demons 2 goes a tad further than the first, in that we get a demonic dog with a mouth within a mouth ala Alien and a demon child who then births from his guts a weird gremlin sock puppet. As with the first film, it’s all very silly, very gruesome, but very fun.
The music, consisting of an original score by Simon Boswell, is a largely forgettable one that just hovers over scenes providing the necessary ambience. Although one track did sound eerily reminiscent of the music from the original Doom. It at least made me wish I was playing Doom. As with the first film, we also have a soundtrack featuring several tracks from various 1980s bands, and while it lacks the thumping heavy metal stylings that made the original so much fun, it’s still decent, featuring the likes of The Smiths and The Cult, with the latter appearing via their insanely catchy hard rock hit “Rain”, adding a nice punch to a gruesome demonic transformation.
The original Demons was a wonderfully silly film that I had a blast watching and still highly recommend despite its flaws. Demons 2, on the other hand, is essentially a watered-down retread of the first, but with less of what made it so much fun and more of what held it back, resulting in a deeply disappointing follow-up that left me bored and frankly depressed. Check it out if you’re curious, but maybe just stick with the first one.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★