[31 Days of Horror Part VII: The New Blood] Day 30 – Demons 2 (1986)

Director: Lamberto Bava
Cast: David Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, Bobby Rhodes, Asia Argento, Virginia Bryant
Screenplay: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti
92 mins. Rated R.

I’ve unintentionally picked several movies this month that are set in high-rises. There was Shivers, Poltergeist III, and the film we’ll be talking about tonight, Demons 2. I have nothing against high-rises, nor do I harbor any ill will to their occupants, but the pattern has been noted.

Demons 2 picks up some time after the first film, and we discover that the events of the original film did indeed happen, and the world knows of the existence of demons. The demons were defeated, and life has seemingly returned to normal. On this night, a fictionalized film is being shown on the television depicting young people who returned to the quarantine zone that the demons had been, and just as before, the demons attack, moving through the screen and back into our world, this time targeting an apartment complex and its inhabitants. The odds are against them, but the ones that group together to fight back may just have a shot.

Demons 2 is indeed a sequel tot he original, which I liked. True sequels were still a bit of a rarity for foreign-produced horror films during his time; there was a favorability toward slapping a sequel title on a random similar film and marketing it as a sequel. I just figured this was the same thing, but there’s no way of avoiding it. Demons 2 is very much a sequel. In fact, it’s pretty much the same movie as the first one, just set in a different location.

In that way, Demons 2 is a little too much of the same thing. It reminded me of Evil Dead II, which just spent a lot of time re-enacting the events of the original, effectively remaking it (in fact, it is more similar to Return of the Living Dead II, as it actually has some of the actors from the first film returning to play new characters).

This sequel is truly winning when director Lamberto Bava (Body Puzzle, Devil Fish) tries new things. Even when his attempts don’t work, there is a charm to the effects work, dated as it is. I particularly liked the enhanced creature design, which looks slightly different than the original film’s effects, while still similar enough to fit in this world. I also liked the different demon types explored in the film. Demons 2 feels like an expansion of this story and mythology in a really exciting way.

Demons 2 flounders a bit in its overly-similar plotting, its poor acting, and its unearned finale, but that’s not why I watched this movie. I understood what I was getting, and that’s what I got. The acting is as good as I expected, but the film was a visual and tonal treat. It was just damn fun to watch, even with its flaws (and there are flaws). I still recommend this film to the fans of the original, but it is a step down.

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Lamberto Bava’s Demons, click here.

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