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Night of the Demons(2009)
A group of kids go to a Halloween party, only to have to face down a group of demons.
For more about Night of the Demons and the Night of the Demons Blu-ray release, see Night of the Demons Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on October 16, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Shannon Elizabeth (I), Monica Keena, Edward Furlong, Bobbi Sue Luther, Linnea Quigley, Diora Baird
Director: Adam Gierasch
» See full cast & crew
Night of the Demons Blu-ray Review
Been there, slain that.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, October 16, 2010
It's almost Hallowe'en, and neighborhoods are already sporting cobwebs, cardboard skeletons and other accoutrements of this most spooky holiday. Little kids (and maybe some not so little kids) are consumed with ideas for fantastic costumes as well as fantasies of bags full of candy. It's also the time for studios to release a glut of horror titles in the hopes some people stuck at home handing out chocolate will want to watch a frightfest as they wait for their doorbells to ring. Just in recent weeks, we've had a flood of horror titles make it to Blu-ray. I've reviewed more than a handful of these from a variety of studios, films like Feast, 2001 Maniacs, High Tension and The Blair Witch Project, and I still have several more, like Pulse and Prey, in my review queue. So perhaps I'm merely suffering from horror overload at this point. On the other hand, director Adam Gierasch states that his remake of 1988's Night of the Demons is geared toward 17 year old boys, and I am certainly not in that demographic anymore. Yes, there are scares to be had in this Night of the Demons. And there are scantily clad women, always a plus for men 17 to 71. Director Gierasch has a good eye and he invests this re-do with several fun elements. But overall this feels like a tired rehash, a silly and predictable trip down the "haunted mansion filled with evil spirits" genre that, despite its punk-rock ambitions, is surprisingly rote and by the numbers.
When the original Night of the Demons was released in 1988, there was quite a brouhaha regarding the film's explicit violence and gore. Ah, how times have changed. Director-writer Gierasch and his co-scenarist Jace Anderson are working in a different world, tolerance-wise, and they push the limits, not only in the violence aspect, but also in this version's emphasis on sex, both implied and actually depicted. Therefore we get one of the three extremely buxom lead women, after she's been possessed by a demon, pushing a lipstick into her left breast (as in into, all the way inside her body), and then "excreting" it through her sex organ. That's entertainment, at least for 17 year old boys.
Night of the Demons does have a couple of very nice touches. Gierasch has completely changed the setting from the first film. Here we're at a Hallowe'en party in a deserted New Orleans mansion where a horrifying murder- suicide took place back in the 1920s. Gierasch depicts these long ago events in several sepia-toned "silent movie" flashbacks which give his film a very distinctive look. As our present day youngsters, of course stranded in the mansion after the police break up the raucous party, begin to poke around the musty old manse, they discover that there was actually a demonic reason behind all the mayhem decades ago. And, no surprises here, that same mayhem is waiting to wreak havoc on all of them again.
While there are shocks galore in Night of the Demons, too many of them spring from silly clichés like a cabinet mirror opening, and then closing to reveal someone (or something) standing behind a protagonist, all to thundering and menacing LFE. The transformation effects as one by one our hapless heroes and heroines are possessed by demons are quite good, as various goblins and ghoulies from antediluvian times take over, causing the humans to thrash about in a sort of Jacob's Ladder spasm. The slow reveal as to what's actually going on with these evil forces is well handled, though the getting there can be awfully turgid at times.
This is a film filled with gothic chic and a lot of loud punk music, obviously geared toward a younger audience. The women are either hardly dressed, or not dressed at all, and despite known names like Edward Furlong (looking a tad pudgy here) and younger up and coming stars like Shannon Elizabeth on hand, there's little doubt any of these people were hired for their acting chops. Night of the Demons has a decidedly lo-fi ambience, almost like a Roger Corman retread at times, that, depending on your point of view, will either be bracingly fun or just plain tired. While the film was evidently shot on a less than Hollywood blockbuster budget, and has also evidently been consigned largely to the straight to video market, the production design and special effects are really quite good for a film of this ilk. Gierasch obviously knew exactly what he was aiming for in Night of the Demons, and it can't be argued that he achieved it with a modicum of flash and style. The problem with aiming a film distinctly at a 17 year old audience, however, is that there are a lot of non-17 year olds out there, too, and if they're watching at all, they're probably wondering when this long demonic night will finally end.
Night of the Demons Blu-ray, Video Quality
Gierasch obviously didn't have much of a budget shooting this film, and it unfortunately shows in a low contrast, overly grainy presentation on Blu-ray, delivered via an AVC encode, in 1080p and 1.78:1. Most of this film is extremely dark, and unfortunately black levels are inconsistent and get both milky and green in various spots (note the inconsistency in the "tunnel" sequence). Detail is acceptably sharp, if never amazing, but the entire enterprise has the look of an upconverted DVD rather than a true hi-def image. Colors are nicely robust and well saturated, but they tend to get buried in the overall murkiness of the often dark image. When the film finally gets to daylight at the denouement, clarity and sharpness are noticeably better. One thing that looks great in this film are the sepia-toned, deliberately "damaged" silent film flashbacks.
Night of the Demons Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Night of the Demons is stuffed to its evil gills with some great punk source music from bands like Concrete Blonde, and that nonstop barrage of rock sounds fantastic in this Blu-ray's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. There are also some very good sound effects filling the surrounds throughout this enterprise, and good attention paid to varying ambient sound and reverb levels and our human protagonists make their way from location to location within (and actually underneath) the huge mansion. Dialogue is generally crisp, though the noisy party scene does have some balance issues, which actually only plays well into the chaotic feel of that segment. Fidelity is excellent, especially with the throbbing music, which is virtually nonstop, and dynamic range is also very good. The frequent LFE blasts quite convincingly from the sub- woofer, and overall this is a bombastic, fun sound mix.
Night of the Demons Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There's not a heck of a lot in the supplement material on Night of the Demons. The commentary with stars Monica Keena, Bobbi Sue Luther, John F. Beach and Gierasch and Anderson is fun and chatty, but doesn't impart much salient information. There's also a brief Gierasch Comic Con 2010 Intro (1080i; 1:07) and a pretty standard EPK making of featurette, Behind the Bloodbath (HD; 18:21).
Night of the Demons Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Night of the Demons does provide some scares, no doubt about it. But they're all housed in a framework you've seen a thousand times before. If you're staying home on Hallowe'en, this might make an OK rental, especially if you're a 17 year old boy.
Night of the Demons: Other Editions
Night of the Demons Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Night of the Demons Blu-ray Announced - September 7, 2010
E1 Entertainment has announced Night of the Demons for Blu-ray release on October 19. This "demon-filled, blood-soaked" remake of the 1988 cult classic, follows a bunch of young party animals who spend Halloween night in a haunted mansion, turning into demons and ...
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