Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DEMONS 2 (1986) (Synapse Films Blu-ray Review)

DEMONS 2 (1986)

Label: Synapse Films
Duration: 92 Minutes
Rating: Unrated 

Region Code: A
Audio: DTS-HD MA English 2.0 Stereo  with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p widescreen (1.66:1)

Director: Lamberto Bava
Cast: David Edwin Knight, Nancy Brilli, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Asia Argento
The demonic plague from the first film bleeds over into the confines of hi-tech skyscraper when a sad birthday girl is infected by her TV screen in a scene lifted straight outta David Cronenberg's VIDEDROME. Now transformed into a snarling, blood-spewing demon she attacks her party guests and more demonic mayhem ensues.

We have a nice change of venue as we go from the cinema of the first film to a hi-tech skyscraper, which sort of smacks of Cronenberg's SHIVERS. Another nice change is that the demonic plague is initially transferred via TV and not a movie screen or the demonic metal mask from the first film. Definitely a sequel that takes the GREMLINS 2 approach of throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the sequel with the addition of demonic dog, acidic blood and a demonic child adding new levels of intensity to the demonic onslaught.

There are also quite a few nods to the original, bringing back Bobby Rhodes who played the pimp in the first film, this time as an ass kicking gym instructor who leads a group of shirtless muscle heads and leg warmer wearing ladies who find themselves trapped in the parking garage, sadly he meets a nut-shredding fate. 

I loved the make-up effects of the demons here even more than the original film. I don't recall the demons in the first film spewing so much blood from their face, in fact some of the blood is acidic and eats through the floor and into the level below, some of which is lapped up by a dog who transforms into a snarling demon beast. Plus we have an infected child thrown into the mix - a pint-sized demon who torments an expectant before dying, at which time  a winged baby demon is spawned from it's corpse. 

The most memorable demon after the child is that of the birthday gal named Sally (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni) who is the first to be infected by her TV and the further spreads the demonic plague as she tears birthday revelers apart. She gets a sweet transformation scene with the gnarly teeth and claws popping out from her fingertips.

A top-notch sequel that amps up the insanity with fun gore gags and a fun Brit pop soundtrack featuring the Smiths, the Cult and Peter Murphy among others.

Audio/Video: As with the DEMONS Blu-ray Synapse come through with a stunning transfer that appears more film like with less brightness boosting than the Arrow Video Blu-ray. The garish colors are perfectly rendered with a fine layer of film grain and black levels exhibiting some very nice shadow detail. Synapse took a lot of time to properly color time the film and this attention to detail really pays off - this is a stunner. 

At a few points I did notice the image becomes momentarily jittery and unstable, apparently due to a camera defect during filming and not the transfer. Synapse being the perfectionist that they are did attempt to stabilize the issue but were unsuccessful

The lone audio option is a DTS-HD MA Stereo English 2.0 that is quite nice with some real oomph to it. The 80s alternative soundtrack featuring the likes of the Smiths, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult, Fields of Nephilim and Love and Rockets sounds great. The Dialogue, Simon Boswell's score and the effects are all nicely balanced. 

The only extras on the movie-only edition is the theatrical trailer but this new color correction of the transfer is quite a stunner. Synapse knock it out of the park yet again with DEMONS 2. Looking forward to what they do with Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA in 2015!

DEMONS 2 is a fun amped up sequel with nods to Cronenberg's SHIVERS and VIDEODROME plus GREMLINS and ALIEN among others. A bit sillier than the original with a non-stop parade of awesome gore from start to finish, a sequel that in my opinion stands toe-to-toe with the original. This is the movie-only version of the film provided as an alternative for fans who for whatever reason couldn't snag the limited edition SteelBook from Synapse. While it is missing the bonus content of that release it does offers up the same superior quality transfer and the new color-timing, a high recommend.