Monday, 2 April 2012



Maybe it's just one of the side effects of getting older that other people seem to be getting younger - policemen, newsreaders, actors playing Doctor Who. And the characters in teen slasher movies. When you're in your twenties and watching Friday The 13th movies, you can kind of relate to them because they're your own age. Once you get into your forties, your only point of connection would be as either the local police captain or the parents of one of the victims. Another ten years and there's only Crazy Ralph to relate to. (We do this already anyway, muttering "You're all doomed!" at the screen as yet another busload of idiots trundles into view at the start of yet another teen slasher movie.) The victims themselves are so radically different from us as grownups, and from us as we remember our teenage selves, that it's increasingly difficult to recognise them and understand them. It's the "tsk, young people today, what can you do?" problem, the same problem as pop lyrics not making sense any more.

Demons Never Die is a British teen slasher movie with a roster of "yoof" "street" victims so unfathomable they might as well be from Mars. After a girl kills herself in the pre-credit sequence, eight of her schoolmates get together and decide on a suicide pact in which they will all take their own lives at an upcoming birthday party because, apparently, that's the way kids think these days. But while this disparate bunch actually start to come together as friends in the face of their self-inflicted demises, a masked killer turns up and picks them off one by one. Who could it be? The alcoholic economics teacher? Perhaps the father of the girl who died at the start of the film? One of the ineffectual coppers who spend most of the time standing around doing nothing? Or perhaps it's one of the kids themselves?

It seems ridiculous that any of these kids would merrily agree to a suicide pact in the first place: apart from their decision to kill themselves in a meaningless gesture against nothing and nobody, most of them are not actively stupid. Yes, some of them have problems: the fat one is routinely bullied by a gang of thugs, the pretty one is scared she'll inherit her mother's psychological condition, the glamorous one is a secret bulimic and so on, but it still seems absurd they'll all merrily end their lives because of them. Indeed, once they've broken down their own barriers between themselves, some of them are perfectly decent people and you can almost begin to relate to them as proper human beings. These scenes of friendship when they agree to abandon their pact are actually rather nice and even approaching heartwarming.

Sadly the sequences of teen slashery are pretty perfunctory and don't make a lot of sense, and to cap it all they switch in the last reels to night-vision and found footage. And the film doesn't seem to be sure whether the demons are psychological - despair, depression, loneliness and so on - or real and physical manifestations of evil forces. Though it does have some unexpectedly interesting and effective moments, Demons Never Die doesn't really work and ends up as a silly and implausible teenslash movie that can't find the genuine horror in the idea of meaningless suicide. Most baffling aspect is that one of the executive producers is Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.


Crikey, I say, what ho, chaps:

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