Demons 2 (1986) **1/2
D: Lamberto Bava
C: David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, Asia Argento, Bobby Rhodes, Davide Marotta
Plot Synopsis: The residents of a high-rise are trapped inside with demons on a Saturday night.
Review: In the original Demons, a group of moviegoers found themselves trapped in a theater when a demonic outbreak takes hold that mirrors the very film that the patrons are watching. In Demons 2, a group of people find themselves trapped in a modern day skyscraper when a demonic outbreak takes hold that mirrors a film airing on TV. While Demons 2 proclaims itself as a sequel to the 1985 cult classic, it's more of a remake. Not an official remake, but who are we kidding?
The premise and plotting are almost a carbon copy of the original. Hell, both films even utilize some of the same actors even though the characters that those actors portrayed died in the original. They skirt that issue by giving those same actors a different character name, but they're playing their roles in the same way that they portrayed them in the original. And just like the original, Demons 2 suffers from the same problems in that the characters make the dumbest decisions, at the dumbest possible moments, while reciting some of the dumbest dialogue imaginable.
There's no reason that any of this should have worked, but it does. Like the original, Demons 2 manages to create a claustrophobic environment. The principal setting, a skyscraper, goes a long ways in helping to achieve that. When it comes to skyscrapers, there's a limited amount of clearly defined entries & exits. In some cases, only one. When it comes to skyscrapers, they often have strong linear lines that make them interesting to look at, but on the other hand, those same lines often give skyscrapers a cold, detached quality. Due to the exaggerated height of skyscrapers, they often cast a foreboding quality, because they tower above other buildings. Think back to when you was a kid. I'm willing to bet that one reason the school bully was able to pick on others was, because he was taller then the other kids. That same logic applies to skyscrapers. All of these characteristics associated with a skyscraper are well utilized in creating an atmosphere of fear & apprehension in Demons 2.
Aiding in the mounting sense of terror is a bright color palate that gives this production a stylish look. That stylish look takes away personable qualities. That, in turn, makes the skyscraper setting all the more imposing. There's some effectively staged scenes that often find the characters trapped with little hope of escape. As for the actual demons, they're not only striking to look at, but they've been brought to life in a variety of credible makeup effects.
The people behind Demons 2 might not have a clue how to develop characters or a story, but they certainly know which visual embellishments will evoke a feeling of fear in its target audience. Now if they could put the two together, they would be onto something. [R] 92 minutes.
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