DVD Releases: ‘Night of the Demons’ (2009)

Night of the Demons (2009) director Adam Gierasch said he wanted to make the “ultimate film that my seventeen year old self wanted to see”, with “punk rock, demons, scantily clothed women, gore and big scares”. Excluding the “big scares”, he manages to put all those things together – the result, however, is probably not really what you were expecting…

This film follows a group of high school students going to a party in the night of all (clichéd) horror nights, Halloween. Rich and spoiled queen bee Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) has rented an old, apparently haunted house for her party and, surrounded by aptly dressed up guests, she proceeds to tell them about the bloody legend surrounding the mansion, one which involves demons, killings, and a woman who had to commit suicide to stop them. Weird things start to happen for real – but before the party goers can realise that, the police shows up to interrupt the fun and send everybody home.

Angela and a bunch of friends, including ex love-birds Maddie (Monica Keena) and Colin (Edward Furlong), find themselves locked up inside the mansion due to a malfunctioning door, and decide to go exploring. When, however, they find skeletons in the basement and Angela gets bitten by one of them, their night takes a serious turn for the worse and they have to fight to stay alive.

Night of the Demons certainly delivers what you would expect – if what you are expecting is a very simple plot, mindless dialogues, fake blood by the bucket-load and girls snogging each other. The haunted/abandoned house format undoubtedly works in horror movies – indeed, Night of the Demons bears slight resemblances with the legendary The Evil Dead (1981) – but it also an overused concept, and this film doesn’t bring any novelty to it whatsoever.

Through their dialogues the characters try hard to make us invest in them, but the majority of their lines are so corny they’re laughable – “[the demons] weren’t even able to follow Hell’s rules; they’re badass” – and the actors – all too old to be believable as high school students – do not manage to go past the ‘fake scared’ expression.The special effects neither surprise nor scare; the rock music blasted in the soundtrack lessens the eerie effect even more and gives the whole adventure an almost comic twist.

It’s a fact; at times, all horror fans like to indulge in a couple of hours of senseless, random gore and cheap scares for the fun of it. But Night of the Demons is just too implausible to be scary and way too all over the place to be taken seriously; an unoriginal, badly acted and at times boring story. Give it a miss.

Margherita Pellegrino