When a small Colorado town is overrun by demonic creatures during the yearly music festival, three friends must band together to stop the coming apocalypse.
Sounds pretty fun, right? What if I told you that it is also gory AF? And what if I told you that it has those sweet moments of friendship and characterization that make any good movie worth watching? And THEN, what if I told you that this movie is animated in the construction paper style of South Park?
I knew you would be on board. Attack of the Demons is a crazy fun animated feature from director Eric Power. It follows three friends who, by a twist of fate, wind up at the epicenter of the invasion of vicious, mutating demons brought about by a crazy cultist who reads from a cursed book to bring about the end of the world. Kevin (Thomas Petersen), Natalie (Katie Maguire), and Jeff (Andreas Petersen, also writer of the film) all reconnect when Natalie and Jeff happen to return to town on the same weekend. Natalie is there to see her favorite band perform in a local festival, while Jeff is just sort of being kicked out of the house by his parents. Though, he seems pretty okay with it when he learns that the local bars boast a fantastic collection of arcade games. Kevin, who has remained a local, has his eyes set on a special, one-night screening of his favorite Italian horror film.
Yes, my friends, this group of miscreants is a bunch of nerds. And the film lovingly embraces every corner of their passions. We get to know them through their love of their preferred art forms. We understand what makes them tick, and we see how their appreciation (that no one around them seems to understand) gives their individual lives color and meaning.
Unfortunately, their various plans are interrupted by the arrival of some truly grotesque mutant demons who ransack the entire town. It’s up to Kevin, Jeff, and Natalie to figure out how to stop the onslaught before it spreads to the rest of the world.
The film is not only fun, but is also a loving homage to just about every horror classic out there—Evil Dead, Demons, The Grudge, The Thing, Night of the Living Dead... you name it, it makes an appearance, in one form or another. It’s a fun sendup while also being something completely unique in its own right. The animation style is familiar, but even South Park hasn’t gotten as bloody as this one can be. Plus, Power takes care to make his film look beautiful, as well as horrific. He uses very thoughtfully constructed shots to convey tone and meaning, in addition to melting faces off his characters as the demonic presence rages.
The film’s biggest problem is pacing. As fun as it is, it’s a little bogged down in the middle and doesn’t seem to know which way to turn. It eventually finds its pace again, but it has to regain momentum. When it does, though, it leads to a really fun finale that pits our intrepid heroes against the Biggest Bad of them all.
Attack of the Demons is one of those crazy movies that doesn’t come around every day, but when we do get it, we invite it to sink its fangs lovingly into us and take us along for its bloody ride.
Movie Score: 3/5
[Image Credit: Above image courtesy of Dark Star Pictures.]