Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Dardano Sacchetti, and Franco Ferrini
Starring: Urbano Barberini and Natasha Hovey
The 1985 film Demons was directed and co-written by Lamberto Bava, and was produced by Dario Argento, who also had input on the script. It’s about a group of random people who are given complementary tickets to a film, without any information given on what the film’s about. While they’re in the cinema, reality starts to mimic the horror on screen and demons, that essentially resemble zombies, start to cause havoc in the real world.
It doesn’t take long for things to kick off, the group all quickly make their way to the cinema, without any reason to suspect what’s about to happen. The film starts on screen, and slowly chaos breaks out in the auditorium. It’s manic, with people running in every direction, and you’re never quite sure where everyone is, adding to the tension. Everything happens so fast, and you’re hooked completely. The over-the-top story makes for a great time, and you know you shouldn’t take it seriously. It’s not something to take seriously, but to switch off and just enjoy.
The effects are really well done, with some impressive prosthetics as people are being torn apart, eyes being gouged out, and spots bursting. They’re all great, and while the effects have dated, they definitely still have the ability to make you feel sick. There’s also a lack of jump scares, with only a couple here and there, instead the fear relies heavily on the extreme gore. They go absolutely all out and don’t hold anything back.
All of the film is set to a repetitive, but ear-wormy, score from Argento’s regular collaborator Claudio Simonetti. It’s not his best score, but it does a decent job, and feels like a product from the 80s. The score is intertwined with music from 80s rock artists like Billy Idol and Motley Crüe, making for a great soundtrack all round.
While the beginning of the film is an absolute blast, with its ridiculous premise and gory effects, around halfway through the film does slow down. It becomes really noticeable that the characters have no depth, and you don’t really care about them, and because of that the film wears a little thin. Originally this was conceived as part of an anthology film and would have probably been better like that. Even though it’s not even ninety minutes long, it drags along quite a bit at the end, even though the final moments are pretty great.
For the most part Demons is a fun watch. It does lose steam as it goes on and the characters are hollow, but the great effects, infectious score and cheesy acting makes it entertaining.
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