Sunday, November 18, 2012

Night Of The Demons 2 (1994)

(This is a trailer for NOTD 2. The title is just different, that's all)

The Story

It’s been six years since the infamous Hull House massacre. Presumably, Judy and Roger were the only living survivors from Angela’s Halloween party. The cops recovered the remains of the dead teens, but they couldn’t find one person…Angela. Most people believe Angela descended into hell. Here, her powers grew stronger, and the evil villainess still lurks inside the abandoned funeral home. After the party, Angela’s parents received a Halloween card, but this wasn’t a normal Halloween card. The card was covered in blood and dead bugs, and this card included Angela’s signature. The shock was too much to handle, and Angela’s parents committed suicide.

One day, two unsuspecting door-to-door Jehovah’s Witnesses visit Hull House. The door mysteriously opens by itself, and Angela greets the duo. Noticing their creepy surroundings, Albert and Linda quickly refuse a simple offer for a slice of cake. They try to escape, but Angela slaughters both of them with a sword.

Before I continue, I have to point out the stupidity of Angela’s visitors. You willingly walk into an abandoned funeral home after the door opens by itself. Then, you trust this strange woman in a black wedding dress? Seriously? You have to see it to believe it:

Anyway, St. Rita’s Academy is a Catholic boarding school for teens. Now an orphan, Angela’s younger and nerdy sister, Melissa (or “Mouse”) is constantly picked on and bullied as a student. Her best friend, Bibi tries to provide some comfort, but Bibi’s friend, Terri (or Teresa) isn’t so understanding. Shirley Finnerty is a rebellious bully, and torturing Melissa becomes her number one priority. The strict head nun, Sister Gloria tries to protect Melissa, but Shirley devises the ultimate prank.

Johnny and Kurt are best friends. Johnny has the hots for Bibi, and Kurt is seduced by Shirley. With their help, Shirley tricks Bibi into inviting Melissa to a “Halloween party” at Hull House. Rick and Z-Boy are Shirley’s trusted cronies. They help set up the prank, but when they catch Angela’s attention, the group runs into some unexpected trouble. Z-Boy disappears, and using a tube of lipstick as a conveyance to protect her from the underground stream, Angela secretly escapes Hull House.

Back at St. Rita’s Academy, Angela possesses Shirley. Perry is a geeky student, who is obsessed with demonology. He tries to offer his help, and while Perry is able to convince Sister Gloria, the naive Father Bob refuses to buy into the story of a demon attack. Tempted by an offer to reunite with her demonized sister, Melissa leaves St. Rita’s Academy, and she follows Angela to Hull House. Sister Gloria, Perry, Bibi, Johnny, and a reluctant Father Bob try to rescue Melissa from a planned sacrifice, but they will have to fight off Angela’s possessed victims, and evade the deadly traps of Hull House.

Character Rundown

Melissa Franklin/Mouse (Merle Kennedy)-
Melissa is a shy and jumpy geek, and you’ll quickly be able to see why she earned the nickname “Mouse.” Melissa is forced to live the lifestyle of an outcast. Melissa is Shirley’s number one target, and Terri takes her fair share of shots at her. It’s easy to feel sympathy for Melissa, because she endures some pretty rough hazing throughout this film. Also, Melissa’s parents are dead, and her long-lost sister is a sneaky and evil demon. When it comes to acting, Kennedy actually outshines Kinkade in this film. She provides a few laughs every now and then, and Kennedy is very convincing as Melissa.

Angela Franklin (Amelia Kinkade)- Angela is more confident in this film. She’s wickedly evil, and for some unexplainable reason, Angela uses a sword as a weapon here. Her powers are stronger, and Kinkade did bring a very believable devious side to this character.

Sister Gloria (Jennifer Rhodes)- Rhodes provides a hilarious parody performance of a strict, no-nonsense nun. Sister Gloria tries to protect Melissa from any bullying, and she becomes a leader in the fight against Angela and her minions during the final showdown. Rhodes delivers the majority of laughs, and Sister Gloria is one of the more entertaining characters in this franchise.

Bibi (Cristi Harris)-Bibi is hot, but unlike Shirley, it’s not in a slutty way. Cristi Harris brings a strong sense of innocence to this character. In a lot of ways, Bibi is Melissa’s REAL big sister, and Harris’ performance is enjoyable.

Shirley Finnerty (Zoe Trilling)- She’s a trashy skank. Sorry, but this is the best way to describe Ms. Finnerty. Shirley is nothing more than a petty bully, and her 50’s hipster persona is kind of annoying. Shirley is a rebel, but she’s not a cool anti-hero, because her character is too unlikable. Trilling is decent enough on the acting side of things, but her body is the main attraction for this film. In her demonized form, Shirley’s breasts become deadly weapons. Shirley provides one of the most gruesome and bizarre kills in this series, but when Trilling transforms into a demon, she loses her sex appeal. The loss of sex appeal kills any interest in Shirley, because Trilling’s acting skills (or lack there of) can’t save this character.

Johnny (Johnny Moran)-
Johnny is kind of goofy. Moran is supposed to be this pretty boy/jock, but this character is a klutz at times. His “karate moves” aren’t suppose to be taken seriously, but Johnny is just like a chicken with its head cut off throughout this film. Moran is funny, but the Johnny character sends out too many mixed signals.

Kurt (Ladd York)- Kurt is a brainless meathead. Kurt fits the profile of the popular guy/alpha male in high school. He’s good at sports, the women like him, and he’s a bit of a bully. York is believable, but he’s more entertaining as a demon. Eventually, he develops a dark sense of humor, and Kurt’s brief screen time as a beheaded demon provides a few cheap laughs.

Father Bob (Rod McCary)- McCary really nails this character, and Father Bob is an ass. Father Bob is inept and arrogant, and he almost ruins Melissa’s rescue mission.

Perry (Robert Jane, credited as Bobby Jacoby)- Perry is obsessed with demons, and he is determined to prove Father Bob wrong. Perry is a geek, so of course, Kurt sees an easy target for bullying. Jane’s performance is quirky and funny, and Perry shows some bravery towards the end.

Terri/Teresa (Christine Taylor)-
Terri is just a hot blonde. She’s a mean girl, who occasionally joins the “let’s pick on Melissa” gang. Taylor is good eye candy, but towards the end of the film, her character just disappears. She becomes a demon, tries to kill or possess (it‘s hard to tell) Bibi and then poof, she’s gone. But Taylor’s disappearance didn’t bother me, because in the grand scheme of things, her character is pretty irrelevant.

Rick (Rick Peters)- Rick is supposed to be Shirley’s boyfriend, but nothing is confirmed. As far as relationships go, Shirley never shows any sort of true allegiance to her male friends in this film. Anyway, Rick is a loser. He’s one of Shirley’s cronies, and Rick is the type of guy, who dropped out of high school, and never moved on with his life. Peters’ ego is believable, but in the end, Rick is just a douchebag.

Z-Boy (Darin Heames)- As far as personality goes, Z-Boy is just a goofy version of Rick (minus the ego), and he’s another one of Shirley’s cronies. Heames is a comedy character, and he has a few funny moments. He’s one of the bad guys, but they do take a lighthearted approach towards this character.

Who's Behind The Camera?

Brian Trenchard-Smith is the director for Night Of The Demons 2. Trenchard-Smith provides some spooky atmospherics. The gore is more graphic, and the bloody kills are pretty gruesome. Trenchard-Smith delivers brutal violence, but his comical approach adds some necessary humor during the grotesque moments in this film. Overall, Trenchard-Smith was the right choice for director. His style might feel pretty basic most of the time, but Trenchard-Smith is the second best director in this franchise (Tenney is still #1).

My Overall Thoughts

Joe Augustyn returns to write the script, and James Penzi helped with the story. Night Of The Demons 1988 provided a good balance of laughs and spooky horror, but Night Of The Demons 2 is more comedy driven. Humor triumphs over horror here, but I can’t complain too much, because the jokes are still funny. You can sense Augustyn’s campy humor, and Augustyn’s return really helps the screenplay. After all, Augstyn did create the original story, so he knows what it takes to produce the right blueprint for any Night Of The Demons film.

The demons aren’t unstoppable, because the survivors have a dangerous weapon this time around: Holy water.

Yeah, it’s simple, but the holy water is effective. The holy water is a refreshing addition to this film, because it gives the survivors a fighting chance. In the previous film, the survivors spend a lot of time running from demon attacks, because they can’t find any weaknesses.

As I said before, Night Of The Demons 2 puts more focus on comedy. Water balloons and super soakers are used as weapons, and Sister Gloria becomes a swashbuckler, but instead of a sword, she uses long rulers. But Night Of The Demons 2 isn’t a horrible film. They just decided to take a different approach here, and I enjoy most of the changes. The introduction of holy water gives the survivors a weapon, so you don’t have to sit through a bunch of chase scenes. Bibi and Shirley show some skin, but as far as nudity goes, you won‘t see any major changes between Night Of The Demons 2 and the original.

They tried to recreate Angela’s dance scene from the first film, but the second attempt just falls flat. The music played a big part in Angela’s dance scene from Night Of Demons, but in Night Of The Demons 2, Angela dances to this awful generic rock music. And to top it off, she inexplicably pours a bowl of punch on herself. Angela’s dance scene from Night Of The Demons 2 provides a jaw-dropping moment, but not for good reasons, though.

Oh, and I can’t get over Angela’s sword. Angela’s sword is a deadly weapon, but we don’t know where it came from, or who gave it to her. The sword gives Angela a bad-ass edge, and she’s a lot more dangerous with this weapon. Still, when it comes to the origins of the sword, the audience has to assume everything. Sorry, but this important detail really bothers me.

Unlike the 1988 original, Night Of The Demons 2 wasn’t a theatrical release. This was a straight-to-video film, but Night Of The Demons 2 doesn’t feel like a straight-to-video release. The awful CGI snake at the very end is the only downside for the special effects, because the production values are noticeably better. And unlike most straight-to-video horror films, Night Of The Demons 2 isn’t held down by shitty acting.

Night Of The Demons 2 is a respectable follow up to the 1988 original. The story maintains continuity, and they did a good job of building up Angela’s character. Angela Franklin is a dark and evil legend, and Terri’s stories/explanations of her past provide the essential mystique.

As far as quality goes, it’s a step down, but if you enjoyed the first film in this series, Night Of The Demons 2 should provide some entertainment for you. Merle Kennedy is fantastic as Melissa, Amelia Kinkade is still sharp as Angela, Christi Harris and Jennifer Rhodes provide a few good performances, and the rest of the cast is solid. Night Of The Demons 2 is gory, funny, and yes, this film is scary at times.

Along with the original and the 2009 remake, Night Of The Demons 2 provides plenty of rewatch value for me. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about Night Of The Demons 3.

Final Rating: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment