Demons 2 (1986)

a.k.a. - Dèmoni 2: L'incubo ritorna (ITA)

Lamberto Bava revisits his earlier success in a largely duplicative sequel. Anchor Bay US R0 DVD.

The Film

An opening voice over reminds us of the demon attack years before and how the world was troubled by it, but the danger has now been largely forgotten. In a large modern apartment building, a number of people are spending the evening. Sally is having a rather wild birthday party to which pregnant Hannah would love to go, but her husband would rather she doesn't, while Ingrid (Asia Argento) is eating dinner with her family. They are all watching a programme on television about the demons outbreak, but as Sally watches the show, one of the demons turns to look at the camera and claws his way out of the set, scratching and infecting her. As Sally becomes a demon, she attacks all of those at her party and the infection spreads, but with the power gone in the building, no-one can get out...

Although pitched as a sequel, Demons 2 is much more a remake of the original film, borrowing ideas extensively from the original production. The opening and explanation for the origin of the demons makes a similar lack of sense, although at least the bizarre and unresolved subplot about the man in the mask is not repeated. Instead we get a strange television show about a group of kids who go into the walled off zone of the original demons outbreak that seems to be a documentary, but might be a television movie, either way it seems to make little sense and it is impossible to build up tension over such a stupid group of teenages who just wander into the forbidden zone without any preparation - it would have been a lot more tense and plausible if, perhaps, it was a television documentary being broadcast live from inside the zone of the original outbreak.

The remainder of the story follows similar lines to its predecessor, noticably lifting a number of ideas completely from the original script - again the action is confined entirely to a single building with a contrived reason for the characters not to be able to escape, again we get four unruly teenagers driving in a car towards the scene of the outbreak for several minutes (a subplot that just completely disappears from the script) and again a romantic young couple is isolated in the building away from the main group of survivors. The script is able to build up some tension, with much of the movie resembling a frenetic zombie film, although the lack of characterisation does lessen the impact of most of the deaths. One of the scenes that could have been most tense, with a demon chasing the pregnant woman, is completely ruined by the use of a pint-sized demon (perhaps in some half-baked allegory about child-birth) that cannot help but be amusing. The pacing is also rather lackluster, with some very slow and dull scenes, building to a rather unexpectedly anti-climactic ending.

Taking the director's chair again, Lamberto Bava reuses his distinctly Argento inspired palette from the first film, giving the production a glossy and visually impressive feel. Special effects are provided by Sergio Stivaletti and although still generally as effective as those in the first production, there is nothing as original here - a zombified dog looks impressive, but is only used briefly and despite a good looking design the mini-demon that chases Hannah is just too Gremlins-esque to be scary. A good mix of heavy metal gives the film appropriate backing and although completely unmotivated (and not really suiting the scene at all), Dead Can Dance's stunning De Profundis is impossible to disprove of.

Much like the first film, a deliberate attempt was made to avoid using well known actors and so there are none of the usual Italian horror faces in the cast, acting however is generally strong and a few faces that would become quite familiar do crop up - Dario Argento's young daughter Asia makes her first screen appearance while Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni plays Sally, a role that would land her parts in Argento's own Terror at the Opera (1987) and several other Italian horror productions. Just to confuse things, actors Bobby Rhodes and Lino Salemme return from the first film, but in completely unconnected roles.

Own its own merits Demons 2 would probably be an equal to its forerunner, but the endless repetition makes the film rather disappointing to anyone who has seen the first production. An enjoyable film but not to be watched back to back with the original.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Asia Argento - the film film appearance for Dario Argento's daughter who would appear in several of his films.
Directed by anyone interesting? Lamberto Bava - son of the legendary Italian horror director Mario Bava, Lamberto has worked on a number of horror films, from the Giallo A Blade in the Dark (1983) to gory shocker Torturer (2005)
Who else was involved? Producer Dario Argento is best known for his many takes on the giallo, including Profondo rosso (1975)
Any gore or violence? Numerous very gory effects, although these are too over-the-top to be realistic.
Any sex or nudity? None.
Is it scary? A couple of jump shocks and some tense scenes, but nothing particularly scary.
Who is it for? One for fans of the first film, although it does copy extensively.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
Print quality is generally strong with good colours and detail. There is some odd shaking in a couple of brief scenes where the whole picture seems to shake on the screen.
Audio English stereo - sound fine throughout, the music in particular comes through very clearly.
English 5.1 Dolby Surround remix - sounds fine if somewhat unnecessary, only limited use of the surround features.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Audio commentary with Lamberto Bava, special effects designer Sergio Stivaletti and moderator Loris Curei. As on the original film's commentary track there is some interesting discussion but the audio is very quiet and accents are strong, might have been better in Italian with English subs.
  • English language theatrical trailer.
  • Bonus trailers for Demons, Tenebre, Phenomena, Re-Animator and Phantasm.
Region Region 1 (USA) - NTSC
Other regions? Numerous releases worldwide, this US release seems to the best. The UK release from Platinum Media includes a lengthy (50 minute) interview with Bava and Argento but a non-anamorphic print. Some releases are cut by 3 minutes as per the R-rated US cut.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut, three minutes of the film was cut out for the original R-rated US theatrical release. The print used is Italian language.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 9th February 2011.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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