Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

No one leaves this party. Ever.

Six years after Angela’s party at the haunted Hull House went wrong and a group of teenagers were slaughtered, her sister Melissa is now living at a religious school. When a group of her friends decide to visit the house on Halloween, Melissa has reservations about joining them. Whilst there, they accidentally resurrect Angela who wants to reunite her family and turn Melissa over to the dark side too.

 

1988’s Night of the Demons was the perfect embodiment of an adult Halloween party flick – a campy low brow fright fest which piled on the genre staples to deliver a lot of mindless fun but was fairly forgettable. A crash course diet in junk food horror summed it up best. Night of the Demons 2 feels like a second course with even more cinematic sugar and fat thrown in. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith (who has Leprechaun 4: In Space on his list of credits so you know what you’re getting yourself in for) serves us more of the same junk food here and it’s a blast, although not as satisfying as the original. Sometimes you just need something inoffensive and innocent to pass the time.

I’m surprised to see that this was made in the mid-90s as Night of the Demons 2 has the same 80s feel as the original all over it, save for the hairstyles and fashion. A bunch of big-boobed and six-pack laden twentysomethings standing in as teenagers at a Catholic school in America has obvious warning signs written all over it and yet the film manages to keep its daft premise in check as much as possible. It’s simple, straight-to-the-point and doesn’t really care less about a lot of things such as well-developed characters or common-sense storytelling. This is a story you’ll have seen countless times before, just replace demons with a guy in a mask and a machete and you know exactly the sort of scenarios the characters will face. Night of the Demons 2 runs like clockwork but has a lot of fun in doing so, partly played for laughs and partly played seriously. There is a thin line which the film sometimes goes too far over one way or the other.

Night of the Demons 2 moves the bulk of the action away from Hull House to the school campus and with it, a lot of the atmosphere of the original is lost. Hull House’s spooky ambiance was one of the key reasons why the original worked so well in the scare stakes – the long, dark corridors, and broken and boarded-up windows bathed in eerie moonlight were perfect Halloween locations. The school campus is less effective in conveying this demonic threat, although Night of the Demons 2 does pick up significantly more steam when it moves back to Hull House for the final third. There is more focus on comedy in this one, as the first half of the film and the ridiculous Porkies-style sex humour demonstrates as well as some silliness involving holy water and water guns. But once The Evil Dead-style roaming POV shots, the dry ice and the blue lighting kick in, you soon forget that this was being played out as a comedy. The jokes stop and it looks like everyone tries to play it seriously, despite some of the set pieces they’re put through.

There is some effective make-up on display and the demons all look nice and, well demonic, when they’ve transformed – long, gnarled teeth and puss-dripping sores add to the nastiness. Night of the Demons 2 isn’t particularly gory and what you do get to see (a decapitation springs to mind) is done more cartoony than realistic. Case in point comes when a voluptuous young lady’s exposed breasts turn into a pair of hands and burn her would-be groper. The lipstick from the original returns, though the scene involved is nowhere near as memorable. The sad thing is that it takes nearly an hour for all of the good stuff to be wheeled out, and some viewers may have already tuned out by that point.

Amelia Kinkade returns as Angela and it’s apparent that the producers of the series were trying to create a female supernatural villain to compete with the likes of Freddy and Jason – Angela is one-liner central, equally at home with a cutting barb as she is with a cutting blade. She’s not in this one as much which is a shame as both the character and actress had a lot of mileage left. The rest of the cast fill the token roles of the slut, the jock, the nerdy kid, etc. The cardboard cut-out characters simply come pre-programmed with traits that you’ll be familiar with and they all play according to type. The performances aren’t bad, nor are they particularly good. This is hardly an actors’ film, so the cast just do what they need to do in between getting ripped to shreds by demons. Future Mrs Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, is one of the bitchy girls (and I’m sure she pretends this isn’t part of her CV) and Bobby Jacoby is here as the demon-obsessed nerdy kid (forever to be known as Melvin from Tremors for me). Its Jennifer Rhodes as the Meryl Streel lookalike nun who steals the show, playing the part as straight as possible whilst clearly being in on the fact that this is a jokey movie.

 

Night of the Demons 2 is a daft, silly sequel which does deliver the requisite genre goods and is a faithful follow-up to the original, even if it does stick too closely to the same storyline and approach. I’m not sure what anyone could possibly expect from a film like this other than the obvious T&A and gore and mindless cheese.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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