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  Night of the Demons Hell of a party
Year: 2009
Director: Adam Gierasch
Stars: Monica Keena, Shannon Elizabeth, Edward Furlong, John F. Beach, Diora Baird, Bobbi Sue Luthor, Michael Copon, Jamie Harris, Zachary James Bernard, Linnea Quigley
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: On Halloween night, Maddie (Monica Keena) and her friends Lily (Diora Baird) and Suzanne (Bobbi Sue Luthor) attend a raucous party thrown by bitchy Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) at the notorious Broussard Mansion. Lily hooks up with her ex-boyfriend, Dex (Michael Copon) who arrives with his buddy Jason (John F. Beach) while Maddie also runs into her ex, Colin (Edward Furlong), a drug dealer hiding out from a vengeful crime boss. Cops bring the party to an abrupt end, but the seven friends venture into the basement where they discover the corpses of six people who went missing more than eighty years ago. A skeleton bite infects Angela with a demon virus she proceeds to spread through twisted sexual contact with her party guests. Eventually, only Maddie and a handful of others are left battling to survive the night of the demons.

Having exhausted almost all the classic horror films of the Seventies and Eighties, studios have now resorted to remaking minor efforts forgotten by all save ardent genre fans. Night of the Demons is a frivolous, forgettable remake of the frivolous, forgettable 1988 film starring scream queen Linnea Quigley. She has a small cameo here in a ballerina costume giving some young trick-or-treaters an inadvertent glimpse of her tush. Set in New Orleans, the script teases with faint allusions to events in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but once the demons arrive abandons all pretence at thematic depth. Very much like the Eighties horror films it sets out to imitate, this boils down to an episode of Scooby-Doo dressed up with freaky sex and splatter.

Writer-director Adam Gierasch previously scripted low-points for genre auteurs Tobe Hooper and Dario Argento. Here he continues his preoccupation with violence aimed at a woman’s most intimate area. In The Mother of Tears (2007), a lesbian is speared through her vagina (oh, the subtextual hilarity!) while Night of the Demons has demonic anal rape and a young lady poking a lipstick through her nipple before drawing it out from her privates. It is crass but silly and almost harmlessly sophomoric in its attempt to outrage. This is the horror film as gross-out heavy metal poseur pic, stirring a head-banging soundtrack with colourful gore and cartoon misogyny only slightly offset by the sprightly performances of Keena, Elizabeth, Baird and Luthor that suggest they are in on the joke. Having established a trio of likeably sassy women, the film reverts tiresomely to type with two marked for early, messy deaths by their provocative attire and sexual confidence, leaving good girl Maddie to morph into the female version of Bruce Campbell in a pleasing third act development as she improvises weapons and starts splatting demons.

The oft-underused Keena is an engaging lead while Shannon Elizabeth relishes her atypical bad girl role after playing abused scream queens in Jack Frost (1996) and Thirteen Ghosts (2002). On the whole the characters are more likeable than has been the norm with horror movies of late, spouting dialogue that alternates from tiresomely profane to genuinely clever, but the film does nothing with them or their sub-plots that, from the various romantic liaisons to Colin’s troubles with the mob, prove wholly superfluous. Although Gierasch lifts visual tricks from obvious sources, including Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Demons (1985) and House on Haunted Hill (1999), and is over-reliant on shock cuts to screaming demons in lieu of solid suspense sequences, his direction is fairly accomplished. The film kicks off with a witty, sepia-toned prologue styled after a silent movie complete title cards and thereafter sports an engaging, garish comic book look. For what it is, Night of the Demons is a lively, silly albeit disposable horror romp.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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