A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life - and her tips - when her last order of the night turns out to be high society Satanists in need of a virgin ... Read allA pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life - and her tips - when her last order of the night turns out to be high society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life - and her tips - when her last order of the night turns out to be high society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.
With a title like Satanic Panic, I had to give this a look-see. Who knows it might have been brilliant. Even the fact that Fangoria had gotten involved in the project was a big draw. It didn't take long for me to start groaning in despair though.
The worst thing about this film is the immature humour. Evidently shouting rude slang about sexual organs is riotous... or being a completely weird macho arsehole is a laugh-riot. Well, if they'd been handled correctly they might have been. But all I wanted to do was slap the idiots because that's how they came across - idiotic.
The best comedy scene in the film is when Kim escapes the Satanists and runs into their twisted evil offspring. There's a little wordplay, a little situation comedy, and a lot of slapstick - though all of this has dark overtones it's still fun to watch and made me giggle (the first and only time).
The writers, Ted Geoghegan and Grady Hendrix, should have dropped the comedic element and focused and the occult and horror side of things. This is already pretty strong, what with spells being cast, daemons being summoned, and virgins being impregnated... This could have been a true horror epic of our time - but they tried to be too clever.
Another thing that needed a lot of attention is the directing. Chelsea Stardust doesn't live up to her precocious name. On the whole, her directing is average. The opening sequence has the feel of a Lost Tape film, which is always a bad thing for me because the majority of these films are rubbish and annoying. So she already strikes against her before we started the story. Luckily enough, for me, she changed to the third-person style, though there was a lot of sloppy shaky camera work. Especially apparent in crowded scenes as the cameraman tries to get through the melee. Doesn't anybody use dollies anymore - a nice easy glide works wonders in a lot of scenes?
But her biggest shortcoming is the lack of atmosphere. This could have been down to the writing. If they were aiming for a more comedic movie then ambience may not have been what they were wanting. However, there are a lot of scenes where a darker atmosphere would have ramped up the power of the film. When Judi Ross is vomiting worms and earth. When the macho arsehole gets to meet his maker... and his entrails. When Baphomet enters the garden party. These are the major scenes that needed to be darker and broodier, but there are many lesser scenes also. This could have even helped with the comedic side of the story. As comedy always works better when it walks hand-in-hand with tragedy. The one thing Stardust excels at is pacing. The film jogs and sprints at all the right times and helps to keep the audience engaged and bums firmly seated.
Now the cast is superb in their roles and their portrays. I have to say though that it was difficult to make out Rebecca Romijn under the caked-on make-up. Her face must have been a few inches thicker. That said, she plays the perfect domineering leader, Danica Ross, who takes no crap and knows how to control her disciples. Jerry O'Connell is at his best womanising sleaziness as her husband Samuel. It's a shame that he has such a small part... Ruby Modine is delicious as their cunning and conniving daughter Judi. Even when she's forced to team up with our heroine your not sure what side she's on. Then we have our heroine, Samantha Craft, played by Hayley Griffith. Griffith does a good job with the naivety of the character, but it's this naiveness which causes me a problem. How does anyone be this innocent and gullible today? And the fact that she's supposed to be a virgin is farfetched... are things that different in America or are they trying to hold on to ideals of the past? Either way, it damages the character and the story since it's a major element to the plot.
At the end of the day, you have a movie trying too hard and missing the target. The acting is enjoyable and the story would be if treated better. But that's not enough to recommend the film. Is it worth watching on a cold wet day when there's nothing else to watch? At a push maybe, and then only if you're interested in acting. This is a real shame. As I said at the beginning of the review, this could have been an epic horror film.
Feel free to pop on over and check my Absolute Horror list come chart to see where this movie placed or to choose something for your viewing pleasure - you are more than welcome...
- Sep 7, 2019