Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti, and Sergio Stivaletti
Starring: David Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi Tessoni, Asia Argento, Dario Casalini
Demons 2 was released eleven months after the original, quickly put into production due to the financial success of Demons. This time around the ridiculousness is ramped up, while the gore and violence are toned down, in order for the film to receive a lower age rating. Like the first one, Demons 2 is a classic of 1980s Italian horror, and definitely holds up today.
The incident from first one is briefly mentioned on TV, but you don’t need to have seen it. This is almost a completely stand-alone sequel. The story takes place within a high-rise apartment building where Sally (Coralina Cataldi Tessoni) is celebrating her birthday with a group of friends. All throughout the building families are watching a film on TV where the characters are entering the now walled up walls of the city from the first film. Within the fictional film they find a body of a dead demon and one of the group accidentally cuts themselves and gets blood on the corpse. Switch back to the apartments and a demon starts to break through the TV in Sally’s bedroom, infecting her, who in turn infects most people at her party and then set forth to take on the rest of the building.
While the first film has some sense of logic to how the demon attack begins, with the mask in the cinema, this one just has them breaking through the screen. It makes absolutely no sense, but it’s entertaining so it doesn’t matter. As this is a sequel everything has to be turned up, from the body count, number of characters, and effects. There are so many characters throughout the building that it’s hard to keep track of them all. All the way through it you’ll spot people who you forgot were still alive. It makes for good scenes of chaos, especially when a large group try to defend themselves in the car park under the building, but it does mean there is absolutely no character development. They’re just cannon fodder. The main characters are Sally’s next door neighbours George (David Knight) and Hannah (Nancy Brilli). They miss most of the actual killings as George is stuck in an elevator for most of the film, since the power goes out, and Hannah is waiting at home for his return, pregnant and craving cake.
Something that isn’t as extreme is the amount of gore, when compared to the first film this is very tame. While it’s not as extreme with blood and death in every moment, when it goes in that direction the effects are incredible. Sergio Stivaletti worked on the effects, and they more than stand up today. Highlights are the puppet demon that breaks out of the stomach of a child, which is really grizzly, there’s also a dog that turns frenzied and is genuinely scary. The best effect is when Sally turns into a demon, kicking off the whole event. Like the first film her nails split, as the demon ones push through, her demon teeth push through her gums pushing out her normal teeth. The whole thing is eye-wincingly awesome to watch.
One of the best improvements over the original is that the pacing is slowed right down, so it doesn’t lose steam halfway through. It takes longer for the demons to actually appear and manages to keep a good pace throughout. The opening introduces us to the large group of characters, but there’s not much depth to them, even with the added time.
Demons 2 is a loud and ridiculous film. It may not be the best horror film of the 80s, but it’s fun to watch. The sequel is an improvement in almost every way, and it’s a real shame the series didn’t continue beyond this point. A remake/reboot would be interesting to see.
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