Demons 2 (1986)
By: Julian on October 8, 2010  | 
DVD
Umbrella | Region 4. PAL | 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic) | English DD 2.0 | 91 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Bobby Rhodes
Screenplay: Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti
Country: Italy
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
I remember being decidedly unimpressed by the flagship in Lamberto Bava's canon, the Dario Argento-produced Demons (1985). A raucous, hysterical work to be sure, but one that I thought was a brain-damaged imitator, both in style and narrative, to Argento and others' work. Remarkably, Demons 2 is an improvement (though that is not quite as remarkable as the fact that I purchased a sequel to a movie I initially hated). I was torn between giving Demons a re-watch before writing this review, but I think assessing the sequel on its own merits is a more valuable and impartial exercise.

The premise of Demons 2 is basically a carbon copy of the original, except set in a high rise apartment-cum-stronghold, replete with impenetrable, bulletproof windows. Sally (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, who later appeared in minor roles in Argento's Opera and Phantom of the Opera) plays a bitchy sixteen-year-old hosting her birthday party after her parents vacated their apartment for the weekend. Fed up with the company she has invited, Sally retires to the bedroom to watch a low-budget horror movie. If you've seen Demons, you know what happens next: an apparition emerges from the television and Sally is turned into a demon (although it's more of a running zombie) – along with the hapless partygoers and, later, residents that she and her minions sink their teeth into.

Bava (in case you don't know, Lamberto is Mario's son), Argento, Franco Ferrini (a serial Argento collaborator) and Italo-exploitation legend Dardano Sacchetti return to pen Demon 2's script, and it's clear by the above synopsis and to anyone who has seen the original that they don't take too many creative liberties – we're basically watching a redux. A different setting, sure, but they're virtually identical movies. The performances are, predictably, pretty tired, but Asia Argento is featured in her debut role as ten-year-old Ingrid.

But Demons 2 is successful because it's a helluva lot of fun. Like Demons, it's raucous and hysterical, brimming with bloody violence and squelchy transformation effects (some of which I think are pretty good; the dog's demonic metamorphosis is surprisingly competent). But this movie is less self-conscious than its predecessor and Bava is showing the beginnings of his own style: Demons relied far too much on Argento's visuals, doing its best to replicate some of the supernatural excesses of Suspiria and, to a greater extent, Phenomena, which was released in Italy seven months earlier. Demons 2 isn't free of Dario's baggage but the visual signature is mostly Bava's – he is, after all, from good stock (as a visual stylist, I might gratuitously add: I don't think much of Lamberto's old man as a filmmaker, but that's for another review).

Just as Demons had artists such as Billy Idol and Mötley Crue to include in its soundtrack, so too does Demons 2 have rock artists on board, this time from the British 'New Wave': The Smiths and The Cult to name two. They brilliantly complement the kinetic proceedings, certainly as well as Billy Idol's 'White Wedding' did in a demon splatathon scene. The effects are variable – I mentioned earlier that certain transformations were very well done by the SFX team, but other elements are less effective; the climactic gremlins are particularly laughable. Bava imports two of his original SFX maestros from 1985's Demons, Danilo Bollettini and Sergio Stivaletti, the latter of whom who helmed his own film more than ten years later, the entertaining Wax Mask (written by Argento and Lucio Fulci).

I won't pass too much judgment on Demons, mainly because I'd be interested to see if it just caught me on an 'off day'. On its face, though, I think Demons 2 is largely more successful. Bava is more comfortable in the director's chair, shedding some of the baggage he carried in the original, and some of the SFX work is genuinely impressive. Recommended.
Video
Picture is presented in a non-anamorphic 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The colours are dull, but that's not altogether unexpected. Demons' original DP, Gianlorenzo Battagilia, does a decent enough job.
Audio
One English 2.0 Dolby track. It's relatively clear, but dialogue is sometimes a touch murky.
Extra Features
The centrepiece is clearly Leon Ferguson's doco Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror (2000), a 57-minute retrospective with contributions by Argento, John Carpenter, George A Romero and many others. It's a highly informative entry that appears on most Umbrella DVDs directed or produced by Argento, and it's a welcome addition here.

Rounding the disc out is a feature-length commentary by Bava, Stivaletti and journo Loris Curci, a theatrical trailer and Umbrella's usual 'propaganda' (trailers from other releases – Demons, Tenebrae, Deep Red and Phenomena). It's a fine set, particularly with the addition of the Argento doco (but if you have another Umbrella release of an Argento flick, you probably already have this).
The Verdict
Flying in the face of my expectations, Demons 2 is a highly entertaining bit of B-grade Eurotrash – a spirited, light horror vehicle that gives us more of Bava's own style and unique directorial nous.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

comments powered by Disqus

>SHARK WEEK (2012) DVD Review

>DANGEROUS MEN (2005) Blu-ray Review

>UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1992) Blu-ray Review

>THE LAST WARRIOR (2000) Blu-ray Review

>DIAMOND DOGS (2007) DVD Review

>BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) Blu-ray Review

>LET US PREY (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MACHETE (2010) Blu-ray Review

>THE MECHANIK (2005) Blu-ray Review

>DIRECT ACTION (2004) DVD Review

>NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review

>CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review

>POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review

>DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review

Post Apocalypse Discussion Forum
Waxwork Records by MaxTheSilent
Phantasm V??? by McSTIFF
Inside (└ l'intÚrieur) by MaxTheSilent
Red Christmas - new local horror by brett garten
Zack Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) by Rip
BLAIR WITCH (2016) by Dr. Obrero
LOCK-OUT by McSTIFF
10 Guests, 0 Users
Latest Comments
Last 20 Comments
Most Read Articles
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review 1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review
POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review 2. POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review
MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review 3. MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review
DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review 4. DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review
NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review 5. NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review
Contact Us
Australian Horror News and Reviews
Digital Retribution aims to bring you the latest news and reviews from the local genre scene. If you see or hear something that might be of interest to our readers, please get in touch!

For promotional and advertising inquiries, feedback, requests, threats or anything else, visit our Contact Page.