Monday, 23 February 2015

Demons

Demoni; horror, Italy, 1985; D: Lamberto Bava, S: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Paola Cozzo, Karl Zinny, Geretta Geretta

On a subway, Cheryl is given two free tickets by a masked man for a horror film playing in an abandoned cinema. Curious, she takes her friend Kathy with her. The cinema is well attended and when the screening starts, it shows a film about teenagers finding zombies in a tomb. One woman cuts herself on the promotional mask and mutates into a zombie, attacking the audience. When the people want to get out, they find out all the exits are shut down. They stop the film, but the zombies just keep killing them. In the end, only Cheryl and a guy, George, manage to escape through a hole on the roof, and kill the masked man on it. However, zombies spread out around the city.

One of the few horror films that decided to give something new and fresh to one of the most worn out subgenres, the zombie flick, "Demons" has a great, inventive concept that - at least in the first half - gives a meaning to the recycling of the same old scheme. Written by Dario Argento, the concept makes for an experimental film: the audience goes to the cinema to watch a horror film - but the zombies on the screen appear among them in the cinema. The ironic metafilm jabs give the first half spark (in one scene, Kathy laments to her friend Cathy for bringing her to see a horror movie; a quote from Goya: "The sleep of reason produces monsters"; the screams of a woman behind the screen are identical to a woman on the screen in the movie, which culminates with the real woman ripping through the screen to finally awake the audience) and decipher a bigger picture of giving a 3D illusion of a horror movie and the tendency of some viewers to search for more and more exciting ways of film scares: the biggest joke was on the actual audience who went to see "Demons" in theatres, and it is no surprise that one film encyclopedia even named the the number 1 film to avoid watching in the cinemas. Unfortunately, this inventive play exhausts itself too soon when the audience turns off the horror film, and the rest of "Demons" is just about standard chase between them and the zombies in an empty cinema, which becomes too cheap and gory near the end (zombie fingers going through the flesh of the people; scalping, etc.). Unfortunately, this cheap and conventional second half is in the direct clash with the sophisticated and unconventional first one, and thus a fair share of disappointment is there.

Grade;++

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