Night of the Demons (2009)
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
WRITERS: Screenplay by Jace Anderson & Adam Giersach
DIRECTOR: Adam Giersach
STARRING: Shannon Elizabeth as Angela
Monica Keena as Maddie
Diora Baird as Lily
Michael Copon as Dex
Bobbi Sue Luther as Suzanne
John F. Beach as Jason
Edward Furlong as Colin
QUICK CUT: Angela, demons, possessed house, you know the drill by now. Oh, but this time it's in New Orleans.
Maddie - Our notional hero of the movie. She's your typical smart and plucky college girl, hanging out in New Orleans. I think it says a lot about her that her chosen Halloween costume is a scary zombie, and she doesn't go the sexy route.
Lily - One of Maddie's friends, and she *does* go the sexy costume route. She's flirty, and feels a little needy, still in love with one of her exes, as they get drawn back together pretty easily at the Halloween party.
Suzanne - Another of Maddie's friends, and she's very much similar to Lily. She comes off as more of a bad girl though, a bit more independent, and a bit more in your face. Also, one of the few names to survive from the first movie.
Jason - Maddie's accidental love interest, even though the movie tries to set that up as Colin for awhile. A nice guy, a good guy, although he is a bit trigger happy with paintball guns when people steal candy.
Dex - Lily's ex, Jason's friend, and he doesn't really get much to do beyond that. I think he spends more time as a demon than an actual character.
Colin - Maddie's ex, and it sure seems like the movie wants them to get back together. He's a bit of a loser, a drug dealer, and just trying to get through the day without someone or something killing him. He's made a long series of bad decisions, and they're all waiting to bite him back.
Angela - The other big name to survive from the original trilogy, and really, you gotta have Angela. She is a complete 180 turn from the original Angela though. Rather than being the awkward gothy 'weird girl' that everyone stays clear of because she's a freak, this Angela revels in her darkness, and she totally owns it. She's confident, she's brash, and she has a reputation for sleeping with anyone that comes along, which makes her a good fit for a demon curse that spreads through snogging. It's like they took the weird girl gothy stereotype outsider of the original Angela, and reimagined it for the modern age, since they've found a bit more of their niche in society.
THE GUTS: December is here, Triskelions, so that must mean MONTH OF THE DEMONS is over...right? RIGHT?? WRONG! We have one more movie to get through, as Angela is reborn and rebooted and refreshed for a whole new beginning in the 2009 remake of the original, Night of the Demons. How can it still be MONTH OF THE DEMONS if that was November? Well, this is still 31 days since November 1st, and that's still the length of some months, so nyah. It's been a month. This is the demons last chance to escape from my clutches.
Things get going with a flashback to the 1920s or thereabouts, as the film goes out of its way to make this look like an old timey silent movie. We watch as someone jumps off a balcony, hanging herself so incredibly hard that her head pops right off like a kid with a dandelion. After which, the guy trying to stop her reveals his demon eyes. Okay, now that is a solid start right there.
After that, we jump ahead 85 years, to Halloween in New Orleans, the most passe place to set a horror movie these days. Also, gone is Hull House, replaced with the Broussard Mansion, and it's not a funeral home anymore, it's just a place where Bad Stuff happened a long time ago. There's still a gated wall around it, but there is zero mention of any underground streams.
We also get a quick glimpse of the new Angela, and her full name is Angela Feld. I see what you did there, movie. She's graduated from high school and is now some sort of party planner slash promoter for the dark and twisted. We are just leaving all kinds of stuff behind from the old movies.
The movie then gives us our heroines in Maddie, Lily, and a rebooted Suzanne. Maddie's at least gone for the traditional scaryish zombie route for her costume, but the other two have gone the more modern 'sexy' costume path. And they're both sexy cats. Because that worked out SO well for Abbie the Tabby in the previous film.
We also get a pretty nice nod to the original Suzanne, as Linnea Quigley herself has a brief cameo handing out candy to trick or treaters...and reenacting her intro buttshake scene from the first movie. Happy Halloween, kids!
Then we meet the guys, Dex and Jason as they protect the streets from teenaged trick or treaters harassing kids for their candy. And then the original John Connor himself arrives, as a scuzzy drug dealer trying to buy some time to pay off his supplier, and planning to hit up Angela's party to sell his stuff and make a large profit and not get killed.
What can I say? It's been rough for John after Judgment Day didn't happen.
Now, here we are, 10, 15 minutes into the movie, and we have already met all the main cast, got a handle on their personalities and problems, and the party is well on its way, with the characters meeting and greeting. This is way, way more like it. In fact, we're here with plenty of time to spare, and I am okay with the movie just lingering around the party and giving characters time to settle in and interact.
Maddie takes a break to head to the bathroom, and it will be the first of many times in this movie. I know that Bad Things happened there in the first movie, and it's a good nod, but this movie takes a ton of bathroom breaks.
It DOES give us one of the best mirror scares I've seen. Largely because they *don't* do the expected scare. You know the scene; someone looks in the mirror, opens up the medicine cabinet, and when they close it...AHH monster behind them!!
Night of the Demons even gives the scary jump scare musical sting...but nope! Nothing there! Great, great fakeout. And just once you're laughing that off, BOOM a hand smashes through the mirror at Maddie. It's masterfully done, taking our expectations, calming them down, and then surprising us still.
But it's time for Angela herself to make her grand entrance, kicking the party into a high gear of debauchery and debasement. This time out, Angela has been recast with Shannon Elizabeth, last seen around here in Jack Frost, so she's gone from Christmas to Halloween.
Shannon plays this part perfectly. She is amazing as a...femme fatale, I guess works. She's seductive, she's mischievous, and a little bit dark with a Puckish smirk. Most of the roles I've seen her in have been the more innocent girl next door type, but she really brings it to this deeper, darker role. And she loves it, as she just enjoys playing this bad girl, and the chance to chew some scenery as the seductress. It only gets better when she goes all demon.
Just as the party's getting going however, the cops show up and bust it up. See, this is the problem with advertising your big Halloween bash in an abandoned house you shouldn't be in.
Most everyone gets out, but our main cast all just so happen to lag behind, largely due to having to find everyone, and Colin lurking and hiding his drugs so the cops don't bust him.
By the time the cops vacate, and everyone is found, somehow the gate is locked, and our group is going nowhere. Ahh, magical plot convenience.
Anyways, Colin and Angela head down to the basement to see if they can find his stash, but instead they find hidden secret rooms filled with skeletons. And Angela could NOT be more excited as she rushes upstairs to excitedly drag everyone downstairs to show off.
I love the choice to play it as excited. Sure, you could just as easily have everyone come down to see oh my god, eeek, skeletons! But Shannon goes with THIS IS SO COOL COME SEE! and it says so, so much about Angela. And I also kinda empathise with that take on finding dead bodies, but I digress...
One of the corpses has a gold tooth that Angela tries to swipe, and the skeleton bites her instead. Honestly, that's kinda what you deserve for graverobbing. But no one really reacts to a biting skeleton, and instead just brush it off as muscles twitching. Yeah, maybe if they weren't dead for almost nine decades.
With the gate locked, Maddie heads to the bathroom again, and everyone decides they're spending the night. No one even tries to climb over the wall or look for a way out. And what do they expect to do in the morning? Sunlight does not magically improve your cellphone reception. You could've had at least ONE of these people try and get out while the rest hunker down to tell more mansion backstory, but everyone's just kinda resigned to chillin' for the night. We find out at the end of the movie that the guys Angela was renting sound equipment from show up to pick up their stuff, and they could've easily had her mention it here in a "I've got some guys who'll be here in the morning," sort of way.
But anyways, Angela's not doing too good after the skeleton gnapped at her for her thievery, so now she too wanders off to the bathroom.
While she's in there, she does that creepy fast motion shivery thing the horror movies have loved ever since Jacob's Ladder, and sees her eyes go yellow, and her hand has grown claws. Well, that's not good. But she quickly shakes it off and heads back to the after-party.
The movie slows waaaaay down as the cast hunkers down and plays spin the bottle. The only upside here is that it gives Angela the excuse she needs to start snogging people and getting the demon seed spreading. Quite frankly, with the way the movie portrays Angela, I'm not sure she NEEDS an excuse, but this works too.
So now that Angela has passed things on to Dex, and he's not feeling well, what with being demonised and all, he heads off to rest, and Lily goes with him. But once they're in the bedroom, rest is the last thing on either of their minds.
While Lily gets taken by the demons giving her a little death, Colin at least heard me and wants to try and find another way off the property. Meanwhile, everyone else just kinda hangs, and Angela is up to her old tricks of giving mock blow jobs to inanimate objects. At least the wine bottle doesn't have the issues of sucking bullets from a revolver...
Jason heads off uncomfortably after that to find Colin and Maddie, while Lily goes full demon with tentacles popping out of uncomfortable places, leaving Angela and Suzanne to wander off all alone.
And oh look, I knew it was only a matter of time before Angela found an excuse to start dancing, because this is Night of the Demons. If there's one recurring theme, it's Angela dancing.
Suzanne joins in on the dance party, they start making out, and that's all fine...until they start floating. And since we're midway through the movie, this is the perfect time for things to go full horror, and Angela to reveal her new demonface look for the 21st century.
And it takes the new Demona five seconds to rip her best friend's face right off, and drop it right on the floor, like a cat bringing a bird home as a treat.
The trio outside haven't found any more ways out, so they return to the mansion. So Jason immediately takes another bathroom break, and runs into Lily lurking in the loo.
He resists her seductions, even when she removes her corset, and goes from reluctant to freaked out when she reenacts the scene from the first movie where Suzanne inserted her lipstick into her boob.
The best part of that is Jason trying to explain this to the rest, and being pretty damned blunt about exactly what happened. Those words should not be strung together in any circumstances.
So they all go looking for Lily, with a mercifully brief hall-wandering and name-calling scene. Before that can go on for too long, Suzanne jumps out of nowhere to cut it short.
Jason does the heroic thing, and stabs her through with the nearest fireplace poker. Feel free to insert the obligatory "Poker? I hardly knew 'er!" joke here...
They naturally run away, and before they get to the door, Angela diverts them back into the house for more fun. It's nice to have things really going to hell at this point, and the still human cast freaking right out, because yeah, things have gotten REALLY weird really fast.
Colin remembers something Angela said about prohibition era tunnels leading out of the basement to other places, so they try and make their way to the basement to find those.
They also arm up while in the basement, which is a good use of their time and setting. Colin also finds a shotgun and points it RIGHT at Maddie. Sigh. Damnit, John Connor, you of all people should know better how to handle firearms!
Our trio runs into the skeleton room, and don't see any tunnels, so it looks like they're trapped. But we also get a really nice detail that four of the six skeletons are missing. I really like that as the people are possessed, the previous bodies disappear, since they're now occupying new homes.
They do eventually find a trapdoor and head down into the tunnels, because what can possibly go wrong in dark, dank, ancient abandoned tunnels in New Orleans?
Howabout roots growing out of the walls and grabbing them as the demons draw closer? Yeah, that sounds good. Fortunately, there's a saw RIGHT their so they can cut their way free.
They manage to escape after a fight and learning that rusted iron hurts the demons, with the justification of rust being a corruption of iron, an element, which demons are made up of naturtal elements, so corruption hurts them, and yeah it makes no sense to me either. But hey, if you establish it and stick to it, I'm good with at least a defined weapon.
After Mephistophilily shows up to throw tentacles at people, they continue running through the house, and the whole jolly demon gang joins in, eventually boxing our heroes into a single room.
Colin notices some scribbling under the drywall in the room, and they peel off every last bit, revealing tons of writing. What, did Fred Burkle come and stay here for a while after her visit to Pylea? That...would explain a lot actually, but moving on. Also, not a single warning from the Doctor to duck.
Maddie reveals she must be majoring in demonology, because she somehow gleans the backstory from all the scribbles. Turns out these seven demons were even too bad and wicked for Hell, so they were booted out, with the loophole that if they could possess seven people over the course of Halloween, they'd be free.
This lead to the teaser in the 1920s which initially called forth these seven demons, but Evangeline's suicide stopped them before they could have all seven bodies. Which brings us up to today, with our new seven bodies. Well, four down, three to go...
So, they hunker down to wait until dawn, because at least THAT detail we're keeping from the original trilogy. But this also means that we've already sat in this room for awhile, and we're going to be sitting around for longer, just waiting for things to happen.
I swear, the most defining characteristic of a "Night of the Demons" movie is "How long can we drag this stuff out while not doing anything interesting?"
And of course, since all we're doing now is waiting, Maddie goes to the bathroom again to wash her hands. At least Demona Reisen shows up outside the door to have a chat, which is better than nothing at this point.
She doesn't really do much besides threaten, and Maddie is duly unimpressed so slams the door in the demon's face, confident that they are safe and sound inside the sanctuary room. Nice and safe, and nothing can get in or remove the symbols, so this is a perfect plan!
Oh, except for the blood that starts pouring from the walls. That might be a problem. Especially when it starts washing away the protective sigils.
Demon hands start bashing through the walls once the symbols begin disappearing, so the three frantically try and scrawl them back on the walls, and they must have REALLY good memories because SOMEhow it works. I feel like I should nitpick that there's way more arms than there are demons, but eh, magic.
JUST as they finish rewriting the magic opus on the walls, the sun comes bursting through the windows, and they triumphantly, if cautiously, head for the front door.
But once they're out of their sanctuary and in the foyer, Jimmy Cuervo notices something off about the windows, and breaks one. He reveals it's still night outside, and all the clocks are wrong, that they were tricked into thinking it was morning so they'd leave their safe haven.
This daylight fakeout is great. Other movies have tried this trick, and always failed, because the timing is terrible. Night of the Demons waits until VERY late in the movie, so you could ALMOST buy that, yes, yes it could be that simple. Maybe something trips them up along the way, but this feels so real, because the movie is actually almost over. Other movies drop it in during the middle of the film, and you KNOW you've only been sitting there for 45 minutes, and there is NO WAY that things are over, even if the guy has left the evil hotel. Having this happen so late in the movie, it just might be real. The timing couldn't be better.
So the demons show up and attack, and get another victim as Angela pounces on Jason, rips his guts out, has a snack, and he transforms and becomes just like her.
The remaining two run back to the panic room, and oh look, Colin has to go to the bathroom. In fairness, constant demon attacks would probably have me peeing my pants too. He discovers a serious plumbing problem there when he turns around and sees the tub filled with blood, and pokes it with a stick.
Before they can call the Mario Brothers, the tub explodes and Dex pops out to bite Colin, because the bathroom didn't get the protective signs the rest of the room did.
Colin doesn't get the chance to transform though, as the repeated attacks on the building's structural integrity have finally taken their toll and he falls through the collapsing floor. And then crashes through the next few floors until he is back in the basement.
Maddie somehow finds a giant pile of rope and climbs down through the series of holes, leaving the safety of that one room behind. Well, that's dumb.
Just as she gets down there and tries to help him, the demon strikes and tries to grab her, leaving Maddie as the last survivor. She makes her way back to the room, and gears up to bide her time until sunrise. Hopefully, the real one this time.
So she leaves the room, and the six demons come after her. There's a nice shootout as she blasts away at each oncoming monster, stalling for time as they keep coming after her, just waiting 'til dawn.
When the gun jams, she runs for the balcony, and reenacts Evangeline's suicide, just as the sun rises. And I would have been perfectly okay with that dark, dark ending, because it's still a win, and I'm always good with Pyrrhic victories.
But after the demons go crispy in the sunlight, and return to their skeletal positions in the basement, Maddie looks up from her dangling rope, and its revealed she was actually smart enough to tie a harness and a fake noose, faking out the demons and giving her a handy escape. It's pretty clever, and a good way to bookend the movie, and show the intelligence of the lead.
Sure, you can argue if it was really necessary, since dawn is breaking, but it's a good stalling tactic, and pisses off the demons, so I'm good.
And so, Maddie walks out of the estate as some guys come by to pick up the sound equipment, and get a big surprise when they enter the place, I'm sure.
That's it! I am done! I have survived MONTH OF THE DEMONS and reviewed every single damnable film entitled Month of the Demon/s and come out the other side intact. Angela is at last gone, for now, and all the demons have been captured and put back where they belong.
Coming up next is something thankfully not called Night of the Anything, and there's a Christmas movie lurking in our future. But no more Angela! Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!
But before I go, since this is the big wrap up to Trisk's sixth year, I have a special audio message for everyone who's stuck with me, whether it be for one review, or all 180 so far.
(What is Jason talking about? If you missed it, be sure to read the review of The Clones!)
Video: This looks pretty decent, although the abandoned mansion lit by candles seems a bit too well lit at times, but I'm okay with that. I could use maybe a bit more darkness, however the movie is always clear.
Audio: This sounds good, as you'd expect from a big studio movie from five years ago.
Sound Bite: "That wasn't Suzanne! Suzanne has a fucking face!!"
Body Count: Continuing this series questionable definition of death... The important thing to know is, everyone ends up dead by the end of the movie, except for Maddie.
1 - Not even 90 seconds in, and Evangeline takes a short walk with a shorter rope.
2 - The most clear death comes when Suzanne's face gets torn off by Angela.
3 - Jason gets his guts ripped out by Angela
4 - Colin collapses through the floor and gets demonised along the way.
5 and then some - ...Every demon goes poof taking their new bodies with them in the sunlight.
Best Corpse: Suzanne's face being removed is one of the best special effects I've ever seen. it's memorable, it's sudden, and it's bloody good.
Blood Type - A: Come on, there's a literal tub full of blood that explodes everywhere, that gets you pretty close to an A level all on its own. Then you add in all the other bits of gore, and the great demon faces, this is pretty high on the scale.
Sex Appeal: Being a Night of the Demons movie, it doesn't shy away from the nudity, most notably when they reenact the lipstick scene.
Drink Up! Can you guess? Can you? Bathroom breaks!
Video Nasties: The clip this time is of Suzanne's visceral attack on the still human trio. It's a good moment because it's sudden, it's bloody, that torn off face and the skull beneath is *amazing* and since its the first time the humans see the demons, it's very frantic and energetic.
Movie Review: As a remake, this movie both succeeds and fails. They ditch a LOT of stuff from the original movie, but they do keep the absolutely most important things. And there are a ton of nods, possibly some that I'm forcing myself to see that aren't really nods (Like the blow job) that are coincidentally connected. They do correct a lot of the flaws of the original, like the initial pacing, but then they slide right back into sitting around. The best stuff this movie brings to the table is the look of things. I absolutely LOVE the demons. They are unique, memorable, and freaky. It's stuff you haven't seen before, yet still clearly demonic. I said it earlier, but Shannon as the new Angela is amazing, and this is one of her better roles, when she gets to be Angela, because there's so much for her to chew on, and something different. The cast is likable...well, except for Colin who's a tool, and there's a lot of fun going on. This movie has a lot going for it, with its own share of problems though, but is largely successful in being an entertaining ride. Four out of five torn off faces.
Entertainment Value: The blood, the gore, the sense of humour...this movie is tons of fun. Angela is having fun being a vixen, chewing the scenery, and reveling in the creepiness around her. It's sad that this moves far enough away from Night of the Demons that it almost becomes Just Another Haunted House movie, but it is enjoyable enough in its own right. My biggest complaint is what happens to Angela after the demoning. She loses a LOT of her personality, and unlike the originals, she's far FAR from the antagonist. The demons are really just slavering monsters doing their thing. She's little more than another demonic entity amongst the crowd once she's changed, and that's a huge mistake. You need a face of the demon in charge, you need that connection, a 'human' face to hang the evilness onto. They DO wisely give her back some of that when she comes to the door and threatens those trapped in the safe room, and that scene is *great*. She gets to have some personality besides growling, and it's a confrontation you can get behind, and they really needed to do more of that. The movie needed to center its attentions on Angela, and they do for awhile, but once she's a demon, that falls by the wayside, save for that one scene. They got so much right with the reboot idea, and they came SO close with Angela, they clearly had a good handle on the character, and then dropped the ball once the most important thing happened to her. Having such zero personality antagonists hurts the movie, but aside from that, it's a pretty decent horror adventure. Four out of five possessed people.