'Satanic Panic' Review: Devilish Shenanigans Should Really Be More Entertaining



Rob Hunter:

is a cry we hear too often these days, even if it is as subtext buried within less obviously combative comments made by the wealthy and powerful, and that clash between the classes has been fodder for horror films for almost as long as the art form has existed. Short one virgin needed for their ceremony, social elite Danica Ross (Rebecca Romijn) and her bumbling satanists descend on Sam, but she not giving it up for the devil without a fight.

Like most horror/comedies, Satanic Panic leans heaviest towards the latter, but while that path can still lead to fantastically fun cinema in the right hands (What We Do in the Shadows, 2014) it entirely dependent on a single aspect -- it needs to actually be funny. One minute she near tears in a torn and bloodied shirt as she tells a stranger that she was just almost raped, and the next -- the literal next -- she commenting on the inappropriate viewing habits of children she just met. The script -- it credited to Grady Hendrix, but you would be hard-pressed to find even a whiff of the wit and smart humor he displays in his novels -- offers up a slapdash story involving a ceremony to raise a demon through the impregnation of a virgin so it will gift the cult with more wealth, but while the commentary on the class divide is visible it also blandly undeveloped.

Sam efforts to escape see her join up with another young woman named Judi Ross (Ruby Modine) who was originally intended as the evening virginal sacrifice before Danica caught her daughter popping that adjective out of existence with the help of some guy penis.

Like Sam, Judi more prone to wisecracks and forced jokes than to any hint of real concern over the threat they are facing, but like Griffith, Modine is an equally enjoyable performer.

The same can be said for just about everyone here including supporting players like AJ Bowen, Arden Myrin, and Jerry O'Connell -- they are solid, comedically capable actors hamstrung by dialogue that consistently flat, unfunny, and endlessly basic in its attempts at humor.

Members of the one percent channeling evil inspirations to stay ahead of those beneath them is a common enough theme, and this year alone has already seen two absolute gems with Ready or Not and Extra Ordinary.

Published on September 10, 2019
  • sam
  • film
  • satanic panic
  • wealth
  • year
  • minute
  • tip
  • virgin
  • ceremony
  • jokes

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