Only one year after Lamberto Bava’s cult hit Demons came this altogether worthy follow-up. It’s a rare treat to have a successor of such an entertaining horror film come out so quickly and yet maintain the standard of its predecessor. In fact, I’d be stressed to count how often that has happened on one hand. While it falls just short of the quality of the first installment, Lamberto Bava nevertheless recaptures the fun and furious spirit of the original. In fact, I tend never to watch either film independently, but rather back to back, leaving me to view them both as one really long epic gorefest.
Demons 2: The Nightmare Returns
There should probably be a law against Italians making horror movies about demons, as every time they do, demons invade our world and run amok. This time around, the horror film (broadcast over television) infects an upscale apartment complex. The residents panic to escape, as legions of befanged monsters hunt them to and fro, but wouldn’t you know it; all the doors are barred, the windows won’t open and the glass is bulletproof. Dude, that sucks. Amidst it all, a pregnant woman is forced to do battle with a newly born demon baby/puppet that probably wants to eat her.
Demons 2 is the kind of sequel I like to see. It separates itself from the original to a fair degree (no returning characters) but leaves the situation the same (albeit, relocated from a movie theater to an apartment building). This keeps things nice and fresh but recognizable at the same time.
The plot remains as surreal as ever. How and why this horror movie causes people to turn into demons is never touched upon; it’s just there to implement the carnage. The new apartment setting allows for a fresh series of demon-related killings and what-not, such as an elevator sequence and a massacre in a parking garage. However, unlike the first Demons, I felt that the script for this installment was much less focused. Case in point is all the scenes involving Johnny and the parents of the little boy trapped in the building. Both are speeding toward the apartment complex, interact with one another and then vanish from the film entirely. Their scenes have no relevance to the plot and are never touched upon again. They’re just… there.
That pointlessness aside, there was one idea implemented that I rather dug. There are several plot threads going on at once involving residents or groups of residents struggling to survive the onslaught of demons. Each are given relatively equal screen time, leaving you to kind of wonder which group will be the ones to make it out alive and which will become demon fodder. These groups include a little kid left home alone, a bunch of bodybuilders trapped in a parking garage (including Bobby Rhodes, Generic Pimp Guy from Demons, returning as a new character) and a pregnant woman and her husband trying to make it to the roof. Towards the end the main protagonists become quite clear, but you’re sort of left guessing through the bulk of the film.
While I didn’t feel that this installment had quite as many memorable moments as Bava’s previous offering, there’s still plenty to chew on. The scene in which the pregnant woman fends off the attacking demon baby is possibly the strongest point of the film. Funny, sure, but very well shot, with lots of strobing lights really enhancing the presentation. Another great moment involves the husband character being trapped in a stalled elevator with a possessed hooker.
I guess if I had to dwell on one other negative it would have to be the music for the film; a tragic decline from the quality tunes offered in Demons. Where-as Claudio Simonetti provided a truly memorable score for the last chapter, Simon Boswell’s score for this installment is extremely ho-hum. Additionally, the soundtrack lacks pretty much anybody on par with the names we got last time (can’t say I’m a big fan of the Smiths, the Cult, Art of Noise or Dead Can Dance).
Demons 2 is an excellent blend of humor, gore and just enough story to see it all through. It should appeal to any Evil Dead fan, if you ask me.