Blessed with some inspired bits of comic lunacy (would you believe a nun battling Satan’s minions with holy water-filled squirt guns and balloons?), this follow-up to a 1988 horror pic rises above most slice-and-dice fare and may tantalize some more discriminating palates in addition to the usual teen suspects. Pic gets limited theatrical release and could marginally cash in on the Friday the 13th calendar before a date with homevideo.
Despite the title and genre cliches — such as frequently disrobed teenage dimwits holding a Halloween bash in a creepy old house –“Demons 2” offers a relatively low body count and reasonably impressive special effects given its obvious budget restrictions. In addition, director Brian Trenchard-Smith plays the material for laughs wherever possible, and even with a few unintentional giggles, the result is a smarter, gentler movie than most teen-oriented slasher pix.
The lead heavy is again the late Angela (Amelia Kinkade), a one-time disco queen who now hornily haunts her old abode.
Recounting Angela’s legend, a new girl at St. Rita’s school (Zoe Trilling) drags a half-dozen fellow students — including Angela’s reluctant sister, Mouse (Merle Kennedy) — up to the house, inadvertently freeing the demon. On top of that, with each new casualty, the latest victim joins the ranks of the undead.
Fortunately, two people associated with the school rally to battle the demons: the bookish Perry (Bobby Jacoby) and yardstick-wielding Sister Gloria (Jennifer Rhodes).
Rhodes, in fact, is a hoot as the Rambo-ized nun, taking to the challenge with martial skill and intensity. That fresh wrinkle almost makes up for the pic’s tired “Exorcist” riffs, from having Angela speak in a hoarse male voice to frequent bouts of spitting up green slime.
The rest of the cast is less flashy, though Trilling deserves kudos as the bad girl who becomes really bad, and the male counterparts all prove appropriately dense and single-minded.
Tech credits are solid given the three-week shooting schedule. While Angela may not exactly qualify as the femme Freddy Krueger producers talk about in the production notes, don’t be surprised if “Demons” rises again.