Stars: Sarah Hyland, Justin Chon, Clara Mamet, Anthony Carrigan, Steven Krueger, Sophie Dalah, Marc Barnes, Stevin Knight | Written by Anthony Jaswinski | Directed by Jeffrey G. Hunt
So we have a bunch of teens, most of whom are stoners, some are goths, some are jocks; messing with ouija boards and thinking that satanic tourism is “cool”, who stumble into real satanic goings-on. Plus there’s a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameo from modern-day scream queen Devanny Pinn (Truth or Dare, House of Manson). That in a nutshell is Satanic.
As for an actual plot, the film sees four friends on their way to Coachella stop off in Los Angeles to tour true-crime Satanic Panic-era sites, only to find themselves interrupting an apparent human sacrifice. They save the young victim, but she turns out to be much more than dangerous then the cult from which she escaped, unleashing an evil spirit who will hunt the friends down one by one… Yeah, that’s the “official” synopsis on for this film and one that could surely describe just about any teen horror you’ve ever seen.
Given that Satanic is supposed to be a) a horror movie; and b) about Satan and Satanic-Panic, the only really satanic thing here is the sheer torture of sitting through this movie! It’s the kind of film where you have to wonder where all the money went – certainly not only any special effects, given how little there are here; and I’m sure this cast of too-old teens didn’t cost that much to hire (especially as Satanic was filmed prior to Sarah Hyland’s appearance on Modern Family)
It leaves me wondering just how much it costs to film guerilla-style on the streets of L.A.? I’m guessing not a lot, because Satanic is filled with such scenes to pad out its already short running time. They have zero-releation to the overall story and dont’ even contribute in the slightest to any sort of character development. In other words, if it cost a pretty penny to film them, it was a total waste of money! Ok, so maybe I’m being a little harsh – at least Satanic looks like it has a modicum of production value, and doesn’t rely on that usual of low-budget tropes: found-footage.
Not that you’ll care if this is found-footage or not come the conclusion. After more traipsing around the streets of L.A. and the “death” of some of the cast – most of which occur off-screen, more budget savings there I guess – our cast end up running around an abandoned warehouse building screaming at the top of their lungs and suffering “satanic stigmata,” After a couple of jump scares, some spooky voices, a LOT more screaming the film ends with our heroine sat in the dark, an outreached arm coming for her. And that’s it.
Are we meant to take from that ending that the Satanic-panic was real? The film provides no answers and ends so abruptly as to suggest writer Anthony Jaswinski either ran out of ideas or, god forbid, has plans for a sequel! Whatever the case, Satanic is already a contender for worst release of 2017, and it’s only January!
Satanic is out now on DVD from Soda Pictures.