Written by: Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson (screenplay), Joe Augustyn (earlier screenplay)
Directed by: Adam Gierasch
Starring: Monica Keena, Edward Furlong, and Shannon Elizabeth
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman
"She stuck a lipstick in her boob and it fell out of her pussy!... Okay?"
I didnít see the Night of the Demons remake until about a year after it came out; usually, that would kind of irk me, but itís not a big deal since it was delayed for what seemed like a decade anyway. You can see its delay in the fact that it stars Edward Furlong (in fact, itís so old that this could be his follow-up to T2 for all we know) and Monica Keena (who somehow never hit it big after Freddy vs. Jason). As itís a Halloween movie, it never made much sense to watch it until October rolled back around, so Iíve finally made my return to Hull House. (Oh, itís the Broussard House now? Carry on.)
It is indeed the Broussard House in this version, as thatís where a Halloween party took a tragic turn back in 1925 when a lady and her friends decided to conjure up some demons. 85 years later, Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) is throwing another All Hallowís Eve bash, which gets busted up by the cops; however, she gets stuck in the house along with Maddie (Keena), Colin (Furlong), and some other partygoers/victims. After a game of spin the bottle, some of them go exploring and discover some corpses in the basement, and, before long, those same decades-old demons are back to possess everyone in the house.
I imagine that this is the Night of the Demons film I would have made if someone gave me a chance to do so when I was 13 years old. Itís loaded with big boobs, lesbian make-out sessions, blood, guts, and all around general stupidity. You can tell itís not going to have a serious bone in its stupid body because it starts out with a discussion of girlsí waxing habits (all natural for Keena!) and proceeds to some Halloween night pranks. All the while, weíre being introduced to some loud, obnoxious personalities that no one would really want to go to a party with. The plot unfolds swiftly and illogically from here, as the demons just show up without being summoned, which I suppose is fine since weíve got this new, cumbersome backstory that explains why theyíd be there anyway. All of the background information doesnít do much besides allow the characters to connect the dots all too easily (seriously, what is it with Monica Keena starring in movies where the characters are able to just perfectly guess whatís going on?).
My 13 year old self couldnít have anticipated stuff like the horrific CGI gore and the slickness of the thing, though. Both are to be expected these days, but the pixilated splatter effects are especially egregious here and probably represent one of the reasons it was delayed in the first place (which of course raises the question of why theyíd bother). Some of these gags would be downright impressive had there been any budget behind them, which is really the biggest problem--itís not so much that they didnít go practical, itís that they opted for super cheap CGI. The rest of the production is fine, as, in this day and age, anything with a little bit of money thrown at it will look sleek even if itís direct to video. This also has those distracting Saw-inspired quick editing tricks that it seems like all DTV flicks seem to have these days. Basically, itís what youíd expect in that itís nearly the complete opposite of the original, which feels every bit of its low budget with its grainy, washed out photography and overall creaky production values (which isnít a knock, as it works especially well--much more so than the updated slickness does for this redux).
Really, this is just a 21st century spiritual successor to Tenneyís film, as most of the reservations I have about the characters are born from the original--theyíre loud, obnoxious, and generally unpleasant, much like many of their predecessors. However, unlike the original, thereís really not a single one to really like all that much here. Keena seemingly becomes the heroine by default since sheís blonde and perhaps too stupid to die. Unfortunately, sheís just part of the silicone army of bimbos parading around, and she once again proves that no one can do ditzy and confused quite as well as her. She apparently got Furlong on board here, who is looking all portly and shaggy, and his role as a drug dealer doesnít seem to be much of a stretch. Tiffany Shepis, who I genuinely enjoy, unfortunately only shows up for about five minutes, and Shannon Elizabethís Angela is now an aggressive sexpot rather than the weird, quirky girl. At least sheís got a new American Pie movie to fall back on. Some of these characters manage some fun moments, such as one guyís priceless reaction to the update of the infamous lipstick scene.
But for the most part, this is just a typically average remake of source material that was only above average to begin with. Donít get me wrong--I love the original Night of the Demons, but it wasnít an untouchable classic that couldnít benefit from another pass. However, all we get here is like a quick coat of (computer-generated) paint that only serves to make it look pretty while most of the soul and charm of the original is lost. Sure, itís kind of a fun curiosity, but I canít imagine this ever replacing the original in an October rotation (or even part 2, which is kind of dreadful compared to the first one). If you also still havenít checked this out, the Blu-ray release from E1 is pretty nice. The transfer is pristine and vibrant, and the DTS-MA is ridiculously loud, so you can hear all of the crappy new metal songs without a problem. Despite having a bunch of time to produce special features, you only get an intro from Comic-Con (which was probably filmed so long ago that there were only 4 chicks with Slave Leia outfits), a behind-the-scenes feature, and an audio commentary with Keena, Bobbi Sue Luther, John Beach, Adam Gierasch, and Jace Anderson. Take a look once, if only to see that Linnea Quigley can still gratuitously show her ass like no other scream queen. Rent it!
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