Television as the Devil - "Demons 2" Review
Demons 2 is really an immediate sequel to Demons. Released just the following year, this movie really makes no effort to expand its mythology. In fact, it fully rejoices in repetition.
And believe it or not, it was the right move.
Writer and director Lamberto Bava (with a script co-written again by Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti, and Dario Argento) repeats exactly the same structure as the first part. A group of people locked in a building that begin to be victims of demons invoked by a screen, in which a wannabe-Ash (with even a blue shirt with sleeves ripped apart) ends up being one of the last men standing.
The huge difference and the main reason why Demons 2 feels fresh and original is that this time Bava focuses on another emerging sub-culture. Gone are the crests of punks, pimps and the sound of heavy metal in a movie theater. Demons 2 is all about the growing yuppie culture and the increasing popularity of the high-rise apartment complex.
Musician Simon Boswell further pushes this change, by replacing Motley Crue, Saxon and Billy Idol for British New Wave artists such as The Smiths, Peter Murphy, The Cult and Art Of Noise.
And above all, the "focus of evil" changes from cinema to TV. In that respect, Demons 2 seemed to be more menacing. With TV taking a space in the privacy of each home, the possibilities of a demonic invasion increase exponentially.
Demons 2 reinforces its sarcastic motif about the "bad influence" of the media. Bava makes the exaggeration of the mockery more evident, placing children (including a baby Asia Argento in her first role in front of the cameras) and pregnant women as poor innocent souls at the mercy of the diabolic menace displayed on the little screen.
The film starts with a somewhat confusing approach. The facts of the first film apparently did occur, but the world seems to have solved that threat with relative ease. A documentary/film (it's not clear if what we see is a complete work of fiction or a dramatization of events that actually happened) tells the story, but its gender ambiguity is what makes it unclear if we are following a chronological order or we are facing a case of a "movie within a movie".
The fact is that said audiovisual material is being transmitted by a TV station. And the action focuses on an apartment complex that is right next to the said TV station.
There, we know a bunch of small stories. In one of the apartments, a girl is celebrating her birthday with a group of yuppies friends. In another, a beautiful luxury escort has sex with a middle-aged man. We also know a "traditional" family composed of a mother, father, and daughter. In another apartment, a small child spends the night watching TV alone while his parents attend a dinner in another part of the city. A pregnant young woman and her boyfriend are looking forward to the delivery day. On the first floor of the luxurious building, a gym (whose head trainer is played by Bobby Rhodes, AKA the pimp in Demons), is full of bodybuilders.
Of course, the TV show is the medium by which the demons make contact with the human world. The young yuppie birthday girl is the first victim, attacked by a demon that comes out of the TV screen, Poltergeist-style. Of course, a festival of bloody scratches (method of demonic contagion) and pieces of cake will make the party the perfect place for the outbreak.
The building is somehow on total lockdown, which forces the residents to seek survival and escape in multiple ways.
What's Your Rating For Demons 2?
The variety of mini-stories from Demons 2 gives for quite a bunch of fun and memorable scenes. A demon child chasing a first-time pregnant mother is a cruel and hilarious irony. A group of bodybuilders throwing weights and dumbbells at demons is something you don't see every day. Or—and perhaps I should have started with this one—a demon rappel-sliding down the roof of a building is undoubtedly a first for cinematic creatures.
The direction of Bava continues to maintain a high level of quality. Demons 2 works not only because it's more diverse and entertaining than the first, but because the atmosphere created in this emblematic high-rise 80s building—tied forever to our memories, no matter where are you from—is deeply engaging.
Release Year: 1986
Director(s): Lamberto Bava
Writer(s): Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento
Actors: David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, a.o.
© 2019 Sam Shepards