Demons Never Die 2011
aka Suicide Kids
Directed by: Arjun Rose
Starring: Robert Sheehan, Ashley Waters, Jason Maza
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Oh Tulisa Tulisa. A couple of months ago I posted a review of Nine Lives here on the site. Admittedly it’s a hunk of junk, but the fact that it had a cameo from alcoholic nympho Paris Hilton, meant that at least it had a minor sense of allure. Well here we have Demons Never Die, one of the few slasher flicks produced in 2011. Ok so there’s no Gucci bag clenching heiresses in sight, but it does include a walk on appearance from Tulisa Contostavlos aka the new Cheryl Cole. (Just before finishing this review, I noticed she also has a sex tape floating about)
Hands up who watches X Factor? Come on boys, you’re only lying to yourself if you say no. Not many people know this, but I’ve had an action packed life so far and I once got through a couple of auditions for the big X. I sang Enrique Iglesias’ Hero to a producer and she said, “Yes!” What a great day that was. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people that watch every show with my One Direction t-shirt on and my phone in my palm. I do however have it on in the background while the Mrs remains transfixed and if I could recreate that magic feeling when I got the golden ticket and sell it on to everyone that I know… Well let’s just say coke dealers in London would be out of business. Was it really that good? Heeeell yeah!
Anyway back to the film, or kind of. So Tulisa’s success as the Cheryl replacement on the aforementioned program has pushed her celebrity status up a few thousand notches and Arjun Rose (cool name) has capitalised on that timing to cast her in a bit part here. Did she improve sales amongst teeny-boppers? I would say probably yes. Does she improve the movie in any way outside of eye candy? I would definitely say no. Funnily enough she grew up in the same part of London as me and we obviously both come from ‘other’ European heritage, which is noticeable by our (not so) ‘strong British names’. The difference is that she is now a millionaire celebrity and me… well I’m definitely not. But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom, I get to review slasher films for you peeps every day.
When a girl is mistakenly thought to have taken her own life, a gang of youngsters launch a suicide pact. They plan to go out with a bang and decide to set-up a memorable occasion. In the meantime, they seem to be getting help in the form of a masked maniac. Who could it be that’s killing them off?
Back in the days when Internet was still growing, a small company called Google was desperately looking for an injection of cash. They had two meetings with Yahoo CEO Terry Selem over dinner with the possibility of a take-over. Google’s then chairman, Larry Page, was not over keen on selling, but admitted that an offer of $3billion would be tough to turn down. Selem was furious at the proposal and felt he had a much better plan B. “Five billion dollars, seven billion, ten billion. I don’t know what they’re really worth and you don’t either,” he told his staff. “There’s no fucking way we’re going to do this!” So talks closed down, both chased their own projects and went their separate ways. Some ten years later, Google reported gross profits of $7.8 billion in Q4 of 2011, whilst Yahoo managed $1.08. Selem is now in a different employment and Yahoo missed the chance to be the undisputed kings of the internet. That my friends is what you would call a bad decision.
Do you want to hear about another?
Ok check this out: You put together the funds to make a slasher movie. In a haze of trying to be original, some bright spark comes up with a maniac killing off people that want to die. No, seriously. So this brings up a major problem. How do you build any kind of sympathy or connection with people that the killer is in effect helping to achieve their aims? Now don’t get me wrong, the story does attempt to divert from this by revealing the ‘shock’ decision that they change their minds and actually decide against it. By that point though we are left with a bunch of cardboard cut out personalities and no one really to bond to.
Demons is obviously heavily inspired by Wes Craven’s Scream and includes a multitude of references. Many of them reach beyond the realms of just ‘inspiration’ to flagrant copy and paste territory. For a genre that has survived on its ability to self reference, this is all acceptable if it’s handled correctly. Rose’s script lacks charm however and the wit to accompany its lack of authenticity and energy. A solid collection of capable actors are left without a challenging depth to their characters and therefore have no possibility to shine.
As slasher movies are not renowned for their strengths in dramatics, complexity in plotting or philosophical messages, they can only really aim for two emotions. The first and most obvious is fear – everybody loves a good scare. The only other option is to make the film as camp as possible and give the audience something to enjoy in a more humorous way. Demons however gets lost in its attempt to convey a message that a) we don’t understand and b) we don’t give a damn about; – and it takes itself far too seriously to be fun. There’s a large-ish body count, a few attempts to mimic horror classics such as The Blair Witch Project and an unclear but interesting motive, but it’s technically weak and therefore just not good enough to deliver any thrills.
I saw some positive reviews floating around before I picked this up myself, but I am guessing that they were posted by crew members as a form of marketing, because what I saw was pretty irredeemable. I mean, what’s the moral of the story? What’s the point? Don’t commit suicide because a maniac will come and kill you? I wouldn’t care about the lack of logic if it at least had something, anything, to cover up the obvious amateurism. I grew up in the kind of areas that this film attempts to convey. Some of the people that I knew back then lacked an education or anything really to offer the tough society that we lived in. None of them however were dumb enough to run in to a dimly lighted forest instead of to the nearest crowd of people after witnessing a murder, which these fools seem to do consistently.
I remember one great song on the soundtrack that lifted the mood about halfway through. Congratulations to Jessie J; a fine example of the talent of London youth. As for Arjun Rose, a former stockbroker, he needs to try harder…
Final Girl: √√