Night of the Demons (2010)
Here’s what you need to know about the remake of Night of the Demons: it’s got beautiful women in slutty Halloween costumes, getting possessed by demons on Halloween. It’s more than happy to ape the silly, trashy horror movies of the 80’s, with all the gratuitous nudity and gore that entails. Surprisingly, it’s also a lot of fun.
Plot-wise, it’s pretty basic: Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) is a New Orleans party promoter who’s throwing a huge Halloween bash at the Broussard Mansion, which has supposedly been haunted since a seance in 1925, when the 6 guests disappeared without a trace, and the hostess committed suicide. But before the party gets fully underway, it’s shut down by the police, leaving Angela and 6 of her friends behind. But when they try to leave later, they find the gate to the estate is locked. On the bright side, the cops left all the booze behind. So they head back into the house to pass the time by drinking, while drug dealer Colin (Edward Furlong) searches the basement for the stash he tossed when the police showed up. Once in the basement, the group finds a bunch of skeletons, presumably the ones of the missing party guests from 1925. Unfortunately, this discovery leads to Angela getting possessed by a demon, and she’s hell-bent on having her friends join her. In due time, only Colin and Maddie (Monica Keena) are left alive, trying to hold out until dawn, since the demons will be killed (or at least the bodies they possess will be) by the sunlight.
Let me be clear: not everyone will like this movie: this is purely a popcorn movie. Above all else, you’re supposed to have a good time while watching it. As director Adam Gierasch has said, this is the movie his 17-year-old self would have wanted to see. There’s plenty of fan service early on until the demons show up, when the gore kicks in. Even once that happens, it’s as much funny as it is scary.
One other area in which Night of the Demons shines is that unlike most other remakes of 80’s horror films, it’s more than just an attempt to cash in on a fondly-remembered cult classic. It manages to stand out on its own, even when the fanbase demands it pay homage to its predecessor. For example, while Gierasch felt pressure from fans of the original to recreate the infamous disappearing lipstick scene, he found a way to pull it off while still making it memorable on its own. He also displays a terrific touch in filming the 1925 prologue in sepia tones, complete with era-appropriate dialogue cards. That’s the kind of attention and care you just don’t see in most remakes these days.
Night of the Demons never tries to overextend itself. While most horror remakes these days are dour and dreary, it maintains the sense of fun and mischief appropriate to the original. I mean, how many movies have ever featured demonic possession via anal sex? Yes, that’s the kind of attitude this movie has. If that doesn’t turn you off, go watch this right now.