NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2010) review

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2010) by Terrence Kelsey

Angela returns bigger (not literally), badder (figuratively) and now sexier in this remake co-produced by Kevin Tenney (director of the original 1988 NOTD).

Written by husband & wife team Adam Gierasch & Jace Anderson (Dario Argento’s MOTHER OF TEARS, Tobe Hooper’s THE TOOLBOX MURDERS remake) and directed by Adam (who made his directorial debut with AUTOPSY), NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2010) in some ways is an improvement on the original, which I dig I lot.

For those not familiar with either movie, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is simply about a group of party-hardy young adults trapped inside a house on Halloween night, where supernatural powers are unleashed, causing a form of demonic possession that overtakes the group one by one.

NOTD 2010 Trailer:

The 1988 original NOTD Trailer:

I know that many online fanboys and fangirls were vehemently opposed to this new update (but that happens with nearly all remakes). Personally, I feel that Gierasch’s dark comedic film tone is still on par with the original. In some cases, even better with the snarky dialogue between the female cast, which consists of Maddie (Monica Keena – FREDDIE VS. JASON), Suzanne (Bobbi Sue Luther – LAID TO REST), Lily (Diora Baird – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING) and the new Angela (Shannon Elizabeth – Wes Craven’s CURSED), who does a pretty good job making this somewhat iconic character from the original all her own. Will she be remembered as well as Amelia ‘Mimi’ Kinkade’s personification of Angela, that remains to be seen. Ultimately, it’s not a deal breaker in enjoying this flick.

Rounding out the cast are the dudes: Colin (Edward Furlong – TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY), Jason (John F. Beach – Fear Net’s FEAR CLINIC) and Dex (Michael Copon – DARK HOUSE), playing the reluctant hero, the worrisome sidekick and pretty-boy hunk respectively.

Also, making notable cameos are B movie scream queens Tiffany Shepis (NIGHTMARE MAN) and Linnea Quigley (from the original NOTD), whose cameo references her character in the original in all of it’s nearly full “moon” glory! Thongs be damned!
(Linnea in the original NOTD)

(Linnea in the remake)

I’ll admit I tend to like most of the main characters in the original more than the ones in the remake. But at the same time, the new characters didn’t annoy me, like the dumb kids in the Platinum Dunes’ 2009 reboot of FRIDAY THE 13TH.

This version has more production value with the actual lively Halloween party being shown this time around (something lacking in the original).

In addition, Gierasch and Anderson take some of the gags from the original, notably the ”lipstick gag” to even more laughably gratuitous extremes. Plus, there’s even an interesting “transformation” sex scene, I’m assuming, is a homage to THE HOWLING (1981).
(Diora Baird performing Linnea’s infamous lipstick gag)

(Linnea’s lipstick-ready breasts from the original NOTD)

The movie boasts a kick ass 80’s inspired soundtrack of Goth rock, metal and punk (with the likes of 45 GRAVE & CONCRETE BLONDE), though many of the bands on the soundtrack are newer.

Accompanying the soundtrack is a moody score from Joseph Bishara (Mike Mendez’s THE GRAVEDANCERS), who’s a composer on the rise, especially within the horror/thriller genre. You’ll wanna keep your ears open for his work in upcoming films, such as SAW co-creator James Wan’s next feature INSIDIOUS (2010).

The set design and lighting, with its prime colors, contrasted well with the darkness covering the majority of the interiors. The cinematography from Yaron Levy and the editing from Andrew Cohen were executed very well. My only complaint was that there was too much “shaky-cam” during some of the quick-cut action scenes, where I couldn’t really tell what was going on. But those are minor quibbles. I especially enjoyed the old sepia-toned silent movie sections, showing the back-story of this demonic tale. The look came across as more authentic to that era than the similar-styled digital shots from Fruit Chan’s recent remake of the Japanese supernatural horror thriller DON’T LOOK UP (2009).

I haven’t seen all the movies that Gierasch and Anderson have written. I’m still curious to read their script to Argento’s MOTHER OF TEARS, since the movie itself was a very mixed bag for me, hindered with too much exposition and overacting. That flick is one of those “it’s so bad, it’s good” – which is a letdown, given how much I revere the first two parts of the “The Three Mothers” Trilogy: SUSPIRIA (1977) and INFERNO (1980). The scribe duo’s work for Tobe Hooper’s version of THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (2004) fared better, utilizing some SUSPIRIA influences here and there.

NOTD is certainly the couple’s best work to date as screenwriters. The casual dialogue exchanges come across as natural and funny, and the action moves at a quick, steady pace. The only real gripe I have with dialogue is that Furlong’s character dropped way too many F-bombs, for my liking. If this were a drinking game, I’d be drunk within the first ten minutes, and he drops the “bomb” throughout. Otherwise, nothing really seems forced, except maybe for a particular sequence in the 2nd half, where our survivors find shelter in a “safe room”, and this section of the movie employs blatant exposition and plot contrivances that – I believe – are done in a purposely tongue-in-cheek manner that you have to laugh at the absurdity. Some people may interpret this as bad/lazy writing. Maybe they’re right, and I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. The absurdity is played up to the max, much akin to the original EVIL DEAD (1981).

In essence, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009) is a fun movie to watch with an enthusiastic crowd. Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson knew what type movie they were making and who they were making it for. Will fans of the original embrace it? I hope they do. If they take their love of the original too seriously, then in some ways I feel sorry for them.

Now have a Happy Demonic Halloween! Suckahs!


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