The original Demons was a high-octane answer to the zombie trend, and in some ways a taste of things to come in terms of running, aggressive infected. Demons 2 relocated the unholy outbreak from a movie theater to a high-rise apartment complex. Now Die Hard was meeting the undead – would it pay off? Yes and no.
This redux of the first film lacks the mystery and suspense of that gorefest. We don’t have the strange doormen, the same that handed out the movie passes, locking the exits; nor the cryptic mask that started the plague when its edge drew blood. This nightmare isn’t premeditated like the first was. It’s just inevitable.
Sally’s birthday party is in full swing but she has retreated to her bedroom, entranced by the documentary unfolding live as journalists enter the quarantine zone from the first film’s outbreak. All it takes is a single drop of blood…and a demon’s corpse begins pulsing, writhing, coming back to life. The nightmare returns. The demon makes short work of the documentary crew and then, it sets its sights on the viewer – on Sally.
Without rhyme or reason we watch as the demon tears through the TV screen and into Sally’s soul. And that’s that. The first Demons didn’t explain anything so why should this one? Just sit back and watch the blood fly. Sit back and watch as Sally begins growing claws and fangs and dripping acid blood…blood reaching all the way down to the building’s fitness center, where we are hit in the face with one more inexplicable comeback.
Bobby Rhodes, whose pimp character was killed off in the first film, reappears as the gym instructor who mobilizes his pumped and spandexed crew to fight the demon infection worming its way through the building. Bobby Rhodes appears to be the demons’ arch nemesis, a reincarnate badass brother from Italy who refuses to let the bastards overrun his town.
That’s a fun thing about Demons 2. Not so great are the other gimmicks attempted by Argento and Bava, including a demonized dog and a demon baby who goes toe-to-toe with an expectant mother. The side story about a couple of cars en route to the complex is nothing but padding ending in a pointless crash.
What there are to enjoy are those cruel moments that you only get from the greats in Italian horror. A man blubbering for help as claws sink into his flesh, teeth being displaced by monstrous fangs, a little boy’s terror as he crawls into the ventilation ducts to seek shelter from the hordes of transformed demons, only to find the evil blood waiting for him.
It’s a cruel movie, Demons 2. And when the last survivors find themselves running from Sally, the progenitor of the horror, it’s an exhaustive moment, cruelty all spent, merely waiting for the sunrise to come and wash away the nightmare.
The two-pack with both films, offered as part of the Dario Argento collection, is your best buy. See your online retailers. Definitely own both if you’re going to own this sequel, which is in many ways derivative and not at all atmospheric. Otherwise, Rent it!