Demons 2 (US - DVD R1)
Gabe isn't afraid of his television! Who said he was affraid of his television!?!
The apocalyptic events of Demons seem to have been averted, if the cumbersome opening monologue is any indication, and life in a futuristic high rise apartment complex is good. But then some horse’s ass decides to make a docudrama about the averted Demon crisis and the evil once again escapes, this time through the TV screen. More demonic mayhem breaks out.
There’s one in every crowd; the kook that thinks Jedi was better than Empire, the nutcase that prefers Godfather III to Godfather II, the total ass that would rather watch Demons 2 than Demons. Well I am that total ass (though I’m not that kook or that nutcase)—I like Demons 2 more than Demons.
I know, I know, Demons ends on a high note, and opens the door to a rock ‘em, sock ‘em, post-apocalyptic continuation. I understand that Argento and Lamberto Bava back-tracked and effectively made the exact same movie. I am aware of the lack of juicy gore effects, the less than metal soundtrack, and the stupid happy ending, but I’ll still take this mess over the former. I’m just strange that way.
Demons 2 is a much better directed film then its predecessor, hands down, and even with a smaller budget Bava manages to make a slicker, more personal, and better constructed film. There are dozens of sequences and characters that directly mirror those found in the first film, but everything about the execution this time around is more aesthetically pleasing, from the camera angles and editing, to the lighting and actors themselves. It’s so shallow, but I find it hard to get worked up about the aesthetic purity of a Demons movie.
Rather than ripping off, excuse me, ‘paying homage to’ George Romero and Sam Raimi, two of the most commonly referenced filmmakers in horror history, Demons 2 ‘borrows’ a few things from David Chronenberg. Again, excusing a film for stealing from a slightly more obscure source is faint praise indeed, but Shivers and Videodrome are both films I’m okay with reliving. The plot is just as scattershot as the first film, and has fewer ideas floating around, but the structure is tighter, and fewer loose ends are forgotten this time around.
The neigh-sayers are definitely corrected in at least one respect, and that is the lack of gore. Though Demons shamelessly built its plot around violent special effects, the effects were oddly riveting. Demons 2 is like a Disney channel remake in comparison, pandering more to fans of less abrasive creature gore, like that found in the Gremlins films. I think that the demon designs are more successful here, considering the lead monsters have a nearly definitive and instantly recognizable look, but the technical execution is lacking, and the effects themselves much less believable.
Argento had less interest in Demons 2 (he was most likely exhausted from releasing both Demons and Phenomena in the same year), and Bava is able to create a more personal and polished film this time around. Demons 2 shares a lot with Bava Sr. and Argento’s work, but ends up with a look somewhat its own. It’s slicker, and more thought has gone into cutting between cameras rather than awkwardly moving them. Demons 2 is probably the best and most mature direction we’ll ever see out of Lamberto Bava, it’s just too bad he didn’t have a better script to work from.
Demons 2 also holds a larger share of unintentional laughs than Demons. When a small, screaming demon wrenches itself from a possessed child we're most likely meant to be mortified, instead I find myself pointing and laughing at the floppy puppet as it screeches its way across the room. Later a group of body builders, all oiled up and half naked, find themselves under attack and barricade themselves in the basement parking lot. When the demons break in (it was an inward opening door they blocked with cars) the panicked hordes drive small European cars into each other over and over again. And any viewer who doesn't laugh at Sally the Demon's apparent frustration with her lot in life (she just looks so angry) is a demon themselves in my book.
Like Demons, Demons 2 has at last been anamorphically remastered, and is finally set to conform itself to your 16/9 screen. The colours here aren't as bright as those found in the original film, but highlights are cleaner and details slightly sharper. The Demons disc seems to have a slight advantage in the deepness of its blacks, but otherwise has incurred more print damage. This is a fine transfer, and just like its mate, most likely the best the film has ever looked.
Demons 2 carries a rather impressive 5.1 track. The sound is much more natural and fuller than the Demons disc. Spatial representation is cleaner. When a car moves from screen left to screen right the sound follows in a realistic manner, the centre track is truly discrete, and the Demons echoing quality is nowhere to be found. Music is still mixed at strange levels, and the surround channels are comparatively quiet, but all in all this is a pleasing track.
Like the Demonsre-release, the only real extra here is a commentary track with Lamberto Bava, Sergio Stivaletti, a translator, and a mediator. Just like the Demons track this one is pretty painful, due, again, mostly to Bava and Stivaletti’s problems with English, and general lack of interest. The mediator winds up ruling the track and coaxing people into answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a series of questions he already knows the answer to. Had the track been recorded in Italian and offered up with subtitles it may’ve been livelier. A series of Anchor Bay trailers finishes things off.
I enjoy watching both official Demons films, but honestly find the sequel the more entertaining picture. Neither film holds a candle to Michelle Soavi’s The Church, which began its life as a third in the series. The Church is just as non-sequential, unoriginal, and strange, but Soavi’s talent and Argento’s lack of meddling both cast a shadow on Bava’s workman like approach to the material. Watch all three in a row some weekend, and draw your own conclusions. At the very least I’ll guarantee a fun time, if not an educational one.
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 26th September 2007
Disc Type: Single side, single layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Audio Commentary, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Lamberto Bava
Cast: Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Bobby Rhodes, Asia Argento
Length: 91 minutes
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