(nl) wrote: Although the original 1988 "Night Of The Demons" was a fun campy romp on the 'haunted' house genre, the inevitable sequel "Night Of The Demons 2" spends far too much time on sex jokes and bad dialogue to work quite as well as its predecessor. Although it has its moments of hilarious one liners and some damn fine special effects, the balance to make it work is out of whack and it lends this sequel towards the disappointment end of the franchise pool. Six years after Angela's (Kinkade) party at the haunted Hull House went horribly wrong, her sister Melissa (Kennedy) is now an orphan living at a religious school. When a group of hormone engaged teens decide to sneak out of the school and pull a prank on Melissa, they accidentally resurrect Angela The Demon Princess. Now Angela has a plan and it requires her sister to enact. Can these dimwit teens and a hard ass sister of the cloth take down one of Hell's worst nightmares and her minions to save Melissa?Although its hard to admit that the original "Night Of The Demons" was a good movie, it had the right idea of getting the campy humor to work with some legit scare tactics. This sequel doesn't fair so well in this department. Rarely do the scares work. The final act of the film, when they all head over to Hull House to save Melissa from a fate worse than the movies dialogue, does some nice things visually to bring back some creepy vibes but it rarely works on the 'scare' level. There are some great special effects (with particular nod to Angela's final snake like transformation at the end) but it doesn't save it from being rather lackluster in the Horror side. Great ideas, but poor execution on this end.The film also seems pretty hit or miss on the humor too. After the first 30 minutes of relentless sex jokes and rather cliche religious funny fodder, I was ready to just mute the damn thing. Despite the occasionally solid one liner and over the top slapstick joke that worked (the demon playing basketball with his head was so dumb it was hilarious), the film just comes off more awkward then truly humorous. Unintentional humor abounds here on random things, like hands that reach through a demon's breasts to grab a guy, but it never really tickles the funny bone like the first one did with its cliche homages. "Night Of The Demons 2" starts trying to become its own franchise instead of one that homages and builds on the cliches of 80s horror. It has some solid moments and ends on a rather strong note, but getting past the first half of the film will surely be a struggle. BONUS RANT: [Spoiler] This film likes to throw very random things into the mix without ever explaining them. The one that takes the cake is how our kick ass Sister of the Lord randomly grows a head back after being decapitated by Angela. You read that right. Pow. Head flies off. Body drops to floor. Pop. New head (with head gear and all) pops out of the shoulders. No one questions a damn thing. Except me, I guess. Soooooo random.
(gb) wrote: "Extra-Tan Orpheus"! I keep forgetting how many black people are in Brazil, although I might simply not be paying too much mind to Brazil, because I keep forgetting that this film is Brazilian. I suppose ever since they did the "Orphic Trilogy", France has to somehow be involved in anything involving the Orpheus, because this is a joint-French project, and on top of that, it's directed by a Frenchman. I'd say that it's not like they were going to get a white American do direct something called "[u]Black[/u] Orpheus", but that's just today's interpretation of race relations in liberal America, because when this film came out, the blacks were hoping that they would get something this respectful in the States. Amazing how these bossa nova tunes are older than "Bossa Nova Baby", and if you think that I sound like an ignorant American for only noticing a style of music once Elvis does it, at least I'm not racist, like a lot of Americans were at this time. ...Well, I don't know; I'm still not doing progressive Alabama a great favor by watching a film called "[u]Black[/u] Orpheus", so maybe I should refer to this as "African-Brazilian Orpheus", at least to show liberal America just how stupid that sounds. At the risk of offending yet more people, if this film taught me nothing else, it's that before hip-hop came in and messed it all up, black people were making good music all around the world, and the French whities were making entertaining movies about that topic along the way, although such entertainment goes limited, at least by questionable pacing. The film can get rather draggy, with such filler as, of all things, dancing sequences being particularly monotonous, although even the material covered in the actual plotting meanders, making a somewhat thoughtful atmosphere a touch dull, while driving a certain unevenness into the focus of this story of limited layers, or at least what feels like limitations to layers. The film limps along its plot points to the extent of actually losing focus before too long, convoluting a path which is either overblown or, well, undercooked. A lot of the narrative focus is unclear because, for all the dragging, characterization is thin, in that development is not so much lacking, as much as it is questionable, never truly gracing its roles with nuance which might be worthy of investment, and seeming to use them as devices for the contrivances. The conflicts feel a bit manufactured, with trite dialogue and histrionics which are made all the more cheesy by fantastic aspects, because at its heart, this film seems to be aiming for some sort of thematic or artistic expression which is even more ambiguous than the focus of the narrative, due to all of the questionable structuring. With even the thematic value thin, this film cannot obscure its natural shortcomings, because even with all of the dragging and underdevelopment taken out of account, this story concept remains lighthearted and reliant on a color which is there, but diluted by an execution which is even more problematic than the ideas behind this film. This film ought to at least be driven by its color, and in an adequate amount of ways, it is, but in too many places, it's a little flat, with humor, focus and intrigue, until it falls deep into underwhelminginess, almost into mediocrity. The final product, however, manages to avoid descending to that point, narrowly saved by an entertainment value which is complimented by a solid aesthetic value. Even Luiz Bonf's and Antnio Carlos Jobim's widely recognized soundtrack is underexplored, and when it is used, it kind of wears you down when it falls upon, say, the aforementioned overdrawn dancing sequences, but that distinct bossa nova flavor does a lot to liven the film up, and help in selling the colorful culture of Brazil. Really, this film is a rich tribute to Brazil in a number of ways, not just with its musical style, but with a visual style that isn't too cinematography splendid, but with just enough color to bounce nifty Brazilian culture traits, as well as gorgeous Brazilian landscapes. There's an immersion value to this film's celebration of Brazil, in all of its aesthetic glory, thus, you can really feel the passion in Marcel Camus' direction, although that's not to say his sharp tastes end with the celebration of distinctly lovely music and visuals, as he actually utilizes these aesthetic touches to compliment the energy of the storytelling itself. The film is saved by its being more entertaining and not, and never being less than charming, both in its ambition and in its color, anchored by performances which are more endearing than the roles they portray. Characterization isn't much of a priority to the storytelling of this flamboyant film, so material is limited arguably a touch more than the usual '50s flick, and there are a few mediocre performances to further challenge your investment, but what performances there are which charm are very charismatic, particularly when accompanied by some solid chemistry that makes this melodramatic affair a little easier to buy into. This story is always challenging, as it's so thin and contrived, yet just overblown enough for its interpretation to be meandering, and yet, it's almost Shakespearean flavor and culturally celebratory scope makes for an interesting idea that can be made or broken by the strengths of Camus', Vinicius de Moraes' and Jacques Viot's messy script, whose humor is reliant on subtle satire and wit, if not simply dated, and is therefore flat more often than it should be, but is still sharp enough with its wit to mark heights in a color that rarely falls in the meandering, yet fluffily drawn structural writing. There's plenty to complain about here, and not a whole lot to praise, and never all that highly, but with patience, one ought to find plenty to enjoy in this film, which entertains enough to endear, even if it by only so much. All in all, the film is draggy and even a little bland, and certainly rather unfocused, with thin characterization and contrivances behind a story too thin to handle all of the misguidance, which is challenged well enough by the colorful score work, visuals, direction, performances and writing which save Marcel Camus' "Black Orpheus" as an adequately entertaining, if challenging affair. 2.5/5 - Fair