The original Night of the Demons is a bit of a classic in my eyes….entertaining from beginning to end with great effects & plenty of tongue in cheek humour.
In this modern world of horror nothing is safe from being remade or ‘re-imagined’ as is often the term & Night of the Demons is just another in a long list of below par offerings.
Opening in 1925 in the style of a black & white silent movie we see Evangeline Broussard decapitating herself by jumping off the balcony of her house with a rope tied around her neck. She seemed to be trying to escape a man who watches as she plunges to her death before his eyes flash orange.
Switching to modern day we meet a trio of unlikeable females…Maddie, Lily & Suzanne. They are your standard, boorish female leads offering no character development beyond ‘I hope we get drunk & meet some boys’.
They are off to the party held by local party planner, Angela who needs to make money off this party or she is out on the street. The party itself is one of the biggest changes in this remake…taking place at a massive house (the one from the 1925 opening) it is filled to the rafters with party-goers. Loud music, lots of booze & not a demon in sight.
It is not instantly clear just how Angela has been able to throw a party at such a lavish location, particularly if she doesn’t have much money.
Anyway…the 3 girls go to the party & are joined by Dex, Lily’s ex-boyfriend & Jason. Elsewhere, Colin a drug-dealer & also Maddie’s ex has gone to the party to try & flog some of his stash.
At the party…booze is drunk & words are said…before long the police have arrived to break up the party leaving Angela, Maddie, Lily, Suzanne, Dex, Jason & Colin in the house for varying reasons. Colin threw his stash in a grate when the police arrived & wants it back so they all go down to the basement to find it. There they discover a secret room behind the wall with several skeletons lying in a circle.
Realising that these are the missing party guests of Evangeline , Angela attempts to take a gold tooth out of one the skeletons & cuts her hand in the process starting a demonic possession.
As Angela succumbs to the infection, Colin discovers that the gate is locked & there appears to be no way of escape (climbing is never even mentioned). The group realise they are there for the night & start a game of the spin the bottle but not before Suzanne recants the full take of what took place during Evangeline’s party in 1925. She details (and I mean details) the part about Evangeline’s maid going mad that night & scribbling spells on the walls of one room.
Angela becomes a demon & proceeds to infect Dex by kissing him which prompts Lily to get jealous & have sex with Dex in a separate room where she is than turned into a demon. Maddie, Jason & Colin go off to find another way out leaving Angela to turn Suzanne into a demon also.
This all takes place within a 15 minute period of the movie with no suspense or build up. Suddenly most of the group are demons & the rest of the movie (quite a bit of it) is just the other 3 trying to escape their clutches.
Let’s talk about the good first…there are some pretty interesting death/gore scenes including a boob & face being ripped off, a lipstick being pushed through a boob & voided in a bloody mess out of a vagina (clearly a homage to the original scene). The demons look mostly cool although I was less impressed with Angela’s look compared to the original.
The story for the most part makes sense but becomes really bloated & unnecessarily complicated by the end. This mess they create results in 2 separate characters having to effectively stop & explain the plot for everyone. Suzanne when she explains about what took place at Evangeline’s party in 1925 & Maddie when she reads the entire demonic plot from some writing on the wall.
The demons become instantly less dangerous & violent when faced with the important members of the cast & far too much of the latter part of the movie is set inside the ‘spell’ room doing nothing at all.
Their threat is dampened even more when later characters demonic transformations lack the same level of make-up that the earlier ones did. In fact 2 demons are effectively repeated in a sort of twins’ thing that ends up looking lazy.
The pacing of this movie is horrible…the sudden flurry of demon deaths mean there is nothing to fill the final 40 minutes of the movie & it is mind-numbingly boring to watch. Waiting for sunrise should result in a race against time but actually ends up with the characters & viewers checking their watches constantly throughout.
When it finally does reach the end the film goes with a copout ending that sees Maddie committing suicide like Evangeline did but somehow she isn’t decapitated. The sun comes up 10 seconds later & the demons are banished. We than see that Maddie had tied a rope around her waist tricking the demons into thinking she had died.
She makes a couple of quips about dumb demons even though all her friends were murdered in the night & walks off. I was lost for words….
Keep an eye for screen queen Linnea Quigley’s cameo at the beginning of the film. It is one of the highlights of a dour movie that could never have lived up to the heights set by the original. Instead we get a boring, below average looking teen horror that wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if it wasn’t for some of the gore & effects.
Night of the Demons - Remake