Anchor Bay presents
Demons 2 (Demoni 2) (1986)
"Oh my God, I'm locked in! Let me out of here!"- Sally (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni)
Stars: David Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni
Other Stars: Bobby Rhodes, Asia Argento, Virginia Bryant
Director: Lamberto Bava
Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, violence, gore)
Run Time: 01h:31m:06s
Release Date: 1999-03-16
DVD ReviewWhatever faults Demons (1985) had, they are magnified in the 1986sequel. Internal logic goes by the wayside, the rules change, the makeup andeffects are sloppy and ineffective, and whenever the film goes outside thecentral building, we lose all forward momentum and suspense.
The demons from the first film have been defeated by unspecified means(Lamberto Bava in the commentary refers to it as a disinfectant!), and now arethe subject of a documentary film, playing over the cable system in a modernapartment building. The site of the documentary appears to be the ruins of thetheater from the first film, giving a nice bit of continuity. We meet a number ofthe residents of the apartment building in a perfunctory manner, but soon cometo rest on the birthday party for Sally (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni). When an oldboyfriend invites himself to the party, she flees to the bedroom in tears, whereshe soon gets engrossed in the demon documentary.
Not entirely to our surprise, the demon on the TV manages, a laPoltergeist, to penetrate the screen and arrive in person in Sally's room. In a brilliant set piece, she goes out to join her friends with the birthday cake, asshe transforms into a slavering, black bile-oozing Ueber-demon, all to the strainsof "Happy Birthday to You." Another new wrinkle comes out, as the born-again Sally now can emit a bloodlike substance which is highly corrosive as wellas highly infective. In a scene reminiscent of Alien, this stuff burnsthrough the floor and cuts the power to the building, effectively trappingeveryone inside. Alas, this being a modern building: the windows don't openand are made of bulletproof glass. Before long, it's like shooting zombies in abarrel, as the human tenants fall before the demons and are in turn transformedinto demons themselves.
As Bava notes in the commentary, the demons are nastier this time out, infectingboth children and dogs. The pursuit of Helene (Nancy Brilli) by a demonifiedchild is harrowing. However, the effects just aren't enough to support theambitions of the script. The demons look like people in makeup, the animatronicheads look completely phony, and a third-stage demon looks and acts like acloth-and-rubber puppet. The memorable shot of glowing-eyed demons isrepeated from the first picture, but the eyes look completely phony here, insteadof terrifying as they were in Demons. More attention given to themakeup and effects could have made this a much better picture.
As he did in Demons, Bava takes the camera outside the building,disrupting the sense of claustrophobia that he's aiming to produce. He does soto even less purpose here, since the exterior subplots go nowhere at all. Onegets the definite feeling of padding the running time. In all, a semi-respectablesequel that repeats and magnifies the errors of the original. The keepcaseindicates that the film is uncut.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.66:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The nonanamorphic picture is presented in 1.66:1. Blacks tend a little towardthe greenish, and don't register as a pure black. Shadow detail is decent but notexceptional, and colors are generally good. I didn't notice any serious aliasingproblems or much artifacting, despite the very dark nature of most of the film.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Instead of the metal score used on the first entry, the soundtrack makes heavyuse of what were then considered "New Wave" bands such as The Smiths, TheCult, Art of Noise, Peter Murphy and Dead Can Dance. These come throughadequately, although bass is sometimes lacking. Simon Boswell's synthesizedscore is effective and moody, but it takes second chair to the pop tunes. Thesurrounds are used for demon growls and to a lesser extent for the music, but the surround mix is pretty uninspired. It does the job, but there's little directionality to be heard.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Lamberto Bava and makeup/effects artist Sergio Stivaletti
Extras Review: Once again the disc centerpiece is a commentary with director Lamberto Bavaand makeup/effects technician Sergio Stivaletti. The comments of the latter arethe most interesting, such as when he describes how the best effects wereaccomplished; he also doesn't hesitate to acknowledge when some effects don'twork quite right. Bava is better prepared for this commentary than he was on theone for Demons, and is aided by his son as translator. The result is amuch more involving commentary the second time around.
A 1.66:1 trailer is included (which gives away most of the film). There are alsobios and filmographies for Lamberto Bava, Stivaletti, producer/writer DarioArgento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, composer Simon Boswell and actress AsiaArgento (Dario's daughter, who has a bit part as the daughter of one of thedemon victims, is last seen in a car as slavering demon faces press up againstthe window glass). In all, a decent package of extras for a pretty minor film.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsDemons 2 is probably best appreciated as a black comedy, withouttaking things too seriously. It has its moments, but it seems at cross purposeswith itself at other times. Worth a rental if you liked the first film, but don'texpect much beyond a perfunctory sequel.
Mark Zimmer 2000-09-20