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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Demons 2 (1986)

Since I covered the original film (link here), I thought I’d might as well include this one in the marathon as well. Sequels can be a funny thing as they sometimes are inspired and work really well. Other times they feel like a cash in by recycling the previous entry, occasionally with much worse results.

The story takes place in an apartment building. Our characters mostly come from a birthday party being held for a young woman named Sally, a couple expecting a baby, a kid left home by his parents, a hooker who has just finished working, a lady with a dog, and the people who were working out in the basement gym. I know that seems like a lot to keep track of but don’t worry, hardly any of them matter to the plot and are present only to be killed off.

Several characters, including Sally, are watching a documentary or movie about the demon invasion from the previous movie. We know this by the narration on the show and that it was contained behind a walled off area of the city. Some confusing stuff happens and then a demon climbs out of Sally’s T.V. and attacks her. She turns into a demon and then attacks the party which really gets things rolling. The building goes into lockdown because of power issues or maybe it is supernatural. Basically, all the characters are trapped inside with the demons. They get picked off until a couple escape and then the movie ends.

As I mentioned in my review for the first Demons this isn’t the kind of movie that is going to make a lot of sense narratively. The story is all over the place and hard to follow at times. After watching this for more than thirty years I’m still not sure how the demon crawled out of the television and why. This makes it very hard for me as a viewer to give a damn about the characters and the story. I just don’t find Demons 2 to be very entertaining. While the first movie suffered from similar flaws, I did recommend it. Spoilers… that isn’t going to happen this time. So, what happened here to make me have a different opinion?

That first movie had top notch special effects. Both the demons and the kills were great which for me can cover for a lot of other issues. That said I have always been disappointed with what we get here. I’m not sure if it was a budgetary thing or if they were under time constraints but Demons 2 is lacking that signature kill. Hell, in fact none of the kills are particularly memorable at all. While we had all kinds of mayhem in the first outing here the camera cuts away again and again. Sure, you get a demon puppet and a dog getting possessed, but neither of these come close to the expectations set just a year earlier. Nothing reaches the level of the demon bursting form the ladies back or the gag with the fingernails splitting during the first big transformation. They set the bar and then proceeded to not get close to it.

Look closely at the arms and necks... very disappointing
If it were just kills maybe I could let it go. But the makeup on the people who get possessed and turn into demons is lazy. In the first movie the creature design was a highlight. Here the faces look good and we do have appliances on the hands, but that is where the makeup ends on most. I will concede that the featured demon, Sally, is solid the rest not so much. You can actually see the line where it stops, and the actors neck starts. It was like they put zero effort into the special effects work this time out. This was a deal breaker for me.

If you are going to make a sequel then it had better measure up to what it follows. Demons 2 feels like they simply recycled the plot moving the action from a theater to an apartment building. Then they spent way less money and time what made the original so much fun and just crapped this out to cash in on their success. As a completest I do own a copy of Demons 2 but hardly every pull it off the shelf to revisit it. I would predict it will be years before I do so again. My recommendation is to skip this and go watch the original, you will have a lot more fun that way.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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