Demons Never Die (2011) (15)
Running Time: 93 mins
Reviewed by: David Gillespie – HCF Official Artist
I’ve never been one for slasher movies. From the Godfather of Slashers, Halloween to the genre revival of Scream, I have not been shaken or stirred. Perhaps I am the worst person to review Arjun Rose’s British ‘stab’ at the slasher market? Yet there has much publicity about the interesting premise and the inclusion of some of Britain’s bright, young acting talent, including Robert Sheehan (Misfits), Jennie Jacques (Desperate Romantics) and…Tulisa Contostavlos (The X Factor?) Is this a serious contender in the endless line of slash, stalk and kill B flicks?
The movie’s opening scene is reminiscent to Scream. A pretty, if rather dull teenager (Tulisa Contostavlos), in the Drew Barrymore role, seems to be contemplating suicide and is comforted by her father when he notices her crying. Rather than stay with her in her time of need, he suggests popping out to get some dinner and on his return they will talk about it. She ventures into the bathroom for a soak and a potential nude shot. Naturist fans will be left disappointed. Will she be alive when he returns with her meal? What do you think?
The following morning we are introduced to the main characters, albeit in a camera style that was used to introduce the youngsters at the beginning of Donny Darko but minus the freshness and Tears for Fears track. The lecturer explains that one of their students has taken her own life and that it is very tragic. But seriously, does multiple stab wounds sound a likely suicide technique? The two, hapless policemen investigating the incident seem to think so. Where are Thompson and Thompson when you need them?
A motley crew of sixth formers, led by Archie (a charismatic Robert Sheehan), congregate outside. Apparently the X Factor judge was one of their group and they had all planned a mass suicide at a forthcoming party. Each has personal problems and don’t see anything worth living for (probably after reading the script). This is an interesting premise but where does the slasher plotline come into it? A masked maniac with a knife hopes to answer the youths’ prayers and do the business for them. Yet rather than say, ‘thanks Mr Psycho’, they all decide that dying is far too painful and try unsuccessfully to avoid a good knifing.
The rest of the story involves the viewer trying to decipher who the real killer is. Will the suicide club find out before it’s too late?
I’m afraid that this did not change my mind regards slasher movies and I don’t think even the biggest fan of the genre would gain anything from seeing this mess. How can the director expect anyone to accept that a bunch of suicidal teens would be running away from a killer that wants to sort their dilema out for them? Is it just me?
For a budget reported to be in the region of £1 million, all production values, soundtrack and acting duties are fairly solid. Sheehan and Jacques make an appealing couple and their troubled childhood subplots are one of the few parts of the film that actually gain some geniune emotion. Jason Maza is occasionally amusing as the repugant and racist member of the group, Kenny. The urban setting and soundtrack is suitably impressive and the splitscreen skype sequence is also cleverly executed.
But this is mean’t to be a horror/ slasher film right? Well, wrong. Most of the kills are no more than a splatter of fake blood on a shirt. There isn’t anything to merit this movie being even a 12A, never mind a 15. It seems as if the makeup artist was missing in action before the project even got off the ground. Are the quality of kills not an important ingredient to this genre?
When the killer is finally revealed I promise you that you will let out a groan similar to the one that blurts out uncontrollably when you walk into a shower that’s far too cold. This is not a ‘cut’ above the rest. A poor ‘stab’ at the genre. Ehhh, can’t think of anymore?
[pt-filmtitle]Demons Never Die[/pt-filmtitle]