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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Night of the Demons 2010: Party Foul

night of the demons

Adam Gierasch's 2010 remake of Night of the Demons takes the basis for what was done in the original film and applies it to the end destination, with a few minor tweaks added to the journey. Instead of following a small group of teens to an intimate party where everything literally goes to hell, this incarnation populates its shindig with a full staff of party animals. Once again, Angela is throwing the dopest Halloween party in town and everyone is E-vited. As the party rages on and the drugs finally show up (thanks to a tubby Eddie Furlong playing the role that would define his personal life), the cops come in and shut it down. Shortly after the house is cleared out and everyone has left, a handful of stragglers straggle their way back onto the property, only to somehow get locked in. As far as major problems go, being stuck in a house with a handful of good-looking people, tons of alcohol and plenty of music, one really cannot complain. However, toss in a few demons and, well, I suppose the word demon kind of says it all.

night of the demons5I generally don't like to compare remakes to their influences; however, there are a select few that garner the comparison, and I think Night of the Demons is one of those films. One of the things that this new version does that I enjoy is the main idea is in place, but the situations unfold very differently for the characters. You get something new without losing the basis for what make Night of the Demons Night of the Demons. Though, it's not to say that what's new is refreshing cinematically, just new from what has been seen previously.

In fact, I think it's safe to say that Night of the Demons lacks even the slightest hint of originality, and that comes from all aspects of the film. The characters are masterfully stereotypical, the unnecessary backstory added to the movie is as pointless as it is uncreative, and it would be impossible not to know exactly where the film will go next. On a technical level, well, it's not too bad overall, but there are some serious issues strewn throughout. Specifically, the super sped up camerawork that makes its way through the film's opening party setting, only to slow down and focus on something in a motion much slower than normal (like a sexy girl dancing or someone puking). And of course, this is accompanied by a ridiculous swooooosh sound that's supposed to convey… actually, I don't even know what it's supposed to convey. Awesome party, maybe?

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Bobbie Sue (Dead Box) Luther in a role that perfectly plays to her natural talents

Another issue that this remake suffers from is the fact that the Angela character (this time around played by Shannon Elizabeth) has very little to her in terms of generating any sort of interest. She's completely one-dimensional and more of a coincidental character, wherein the original she was, in a way, the star, or at least a major aspect of the movie. Here Angela plays back-up singer to the character of Maddie (Monica Keena, who looks somewhat less malformed than normal), who is clearly the heroin when the viewer is introduced to her wicked hot friends, both of whom have massive tits and wear skimpy Halloween costumes.

Now, I may sound like I am hitting Night of the Demons with a lot of negativity so far and I sort of am, but that really doesn't reflect my actual enjoyment of the film as a whole. In fact, I actually quite enjoyed it - for what it is. Let's face it, as much love as I have for Kevin Tenney's film, it sure is far from perfect, and I think it would be safe to say that it has almost as many problems, collectively, as the 2010 remake. 

night of the demons1

The '88 film starts off awfully slow, and the only thing that it has going for it in the first 45 minutes to an hour is Linnea Quigley's introduction (which makes for a great cameo in the remake, it should be said) and some of the laughable performances and hysterical characters. It's entertaining in a very cheesy way, but that's about all until the film finally takes off in the final 30 or so minutes. The remake does a better job of moving things along at a faster pace, however, it does cause for some latter moments where things do begin to drag on.

As for the demon action itself, the original still takes the funfetti over the remake. Regardless, I do like the look of the demons as well as how they interact with each other (demonic orgies are h-o-t HOT!). The approach of the demons, as well as the film itself, is a little more tongue in cheek than the original. Gierasch and co. certainly had a specific vision for Night of the Demons, and that was to make a fun film that can play for a modern audience, while being mostly faithful in spirit to the original. And I believe they were successful, for the most part.

night of the demons2The movie is a fun watch, plain and simple. It's even almost as fun as the 1988 Night of the Demons; however, it isn't quite as memorable. Of course, Tenney's film has the unfair advantage of nostalgia going for it, but it also has a better presence with how the horror is effectively delivered. Now, the '88 Night of the Demons isn't the most frightening film ever made, but it does have a genuinely spooky atmosphere about it as well as a few creepy moments. Specific scenes that come immediately to mind are the Quigley lipstick trick and Angela's Stigmata Martyr dance.

As strange as the lipstick in the tit scene is, there is something about how Quigley does it, something about the dead serious and completely crazed look on her face that has always stuck with me. The scene is recreated (with a slight twist) in the remake in a way that is certainly entertaining, but it doesn't have nearly the same effect. What is even less effective though, is Angela's dance sequence in the remake. What was truly a frightfully seductive and hypnotic highlight in the 1988 Night of the Demons is not even remotely worth mentioning in the remake. In fact, it's kind of pathetic in comparison.

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I have my criticisms of the film (and they are definitely warranted) but as I said, I found myself enjoying Night of the Demons 2010. It's certainly no classic, and it's debatable as to whether or not it's even any good, but it does capture the essence of the original film without being an exact replica of it. Despite suffering from some typical, modern-day cinema shortcomings, it feels as if it fits in with the world of Night of the Demons, and, most importantly, I had a good time watching it. Quite frankly, that is really all one should expect. 

11 comments:

  1. Great review. I did a write up for all of the NOTD films last week. We share some of the same sentiments on this flick, but I wasn't able to get into it at all. Didn't like the fact that Angela was some hipster chick instead of some dark and mysterious type girl that most kids probably strayed away from in high school.

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  2. Oh, and lol, love that "dead box" link to your LTR review. Her dialog was pitiful

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  3. I agree with you on this one. It felt really lazy in many ways, but it's fun. It's a good background movie to put on. I'm not too crazy about the original in the first place anyway... I like certain things about it, but I don't hold it in high regards.

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  4. wait, i think i loved it... maybe... wait what are we talking about. right. thanks, it's those damn voices again.

    i too agree.

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  5. I was bored to tears. I was hoping for more of an insane bloodbath with trapped party goers. But that never happened. This is a 10 on the richter scale of 'meh' for me.

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  6. Eric: Ha ha, thanks! Dead box plays big boobed girl much better than she plays final girl, that's for sure!

    And I agree about Angela. She was portrayed as a misfit in the original film. Some of the guys would have got with her ('cause, let's face it, they're guys), but that's only because she was good-looking. Otherwise, they all thought she was a freak, whereas, the new Angela is a cool kid who's into strange shit, and that is totally reflected in the amount of peeps that show up to her party.

    Aaron: My love for the original is 80% nostalgia driven. I loved it as a kid, but a rewatch as an adult proved to be less than exciting, though, like you said, there are things about it to like. It's one of those films that now sort of falls into a guilty pleasure film, which is where I think the remake will stay for the time being. The rewatchability factor is super low, but it is set during Halloween, so maybe I'll get the desire for another watch down the very far line.

    iZombie: Ha, you have a way of agreeing that is almost as demonic as a night in Hill house! Well played!

    CTK: There are moments of sheer boredom, I will certainly agree. Especially during the moments when they are trapped in that bedroom. And I definitely agree, a full on bloodbath would have been very welcome. It would have been cool if there was a way where the main characters were left in a house full of dead peeps, all of which could have come back as demons.

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  7. Great review Matt. I just watched this the other night because I wanted some dumb fun, and that's what it was. I've seen the original a loooong time ago, so I don't have strong nostalgia for it but I agree this one lacked that weirdness that made the first one last. Shannon ELizabeth is dull, but I was impressed that MOnica Keena finally didn't act as if she was hopped up on Valium (it's her usual style). Edward Furlong's puffiness was...weird.

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  8. It's been ages since I've seen the original and I almost forgot they remade it. I do wanna check it out for shits and giggles. I didn't expect much from the original except a good bedtime movie that was classically 80s and classically cheesy and that's what I got. I, as you point out, am expected the same from the upgrade.

    But I think I'm just sad about Eddie "John Connor" Furlong. Like, drag my Chucky doll on the floor with my head down sad.

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  9. Emily: Thanks, lady! Monica Keena surprised me too. I actually didn't even recognize her at first, mostly because she looks almost normal in the film. After a while I could see some of the signs that she ruined her face with surgery, but she looks much better than I have seen her, and her performance wasn't all bad, either.

    Ashlee: Yeah, the original is just as you explain it, a fun film to toss on in the late hours before bed. You might pass right out, or you might watch it for an hour, and that would probably be the same case with the remake down the line. Both films are of their time, and both feel similar in tone to one another, which is what makes the remake more successful than it should be.

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