MOVIE: SATANIC PANIC
STARRING: HAYLEY GRIFFITH; RUBY MODINE; REBECCA ROMIJN
DIRECTED BY: CHELSEA STARDUST
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of interviewing director Penny Lane about here fantastic documentary Hail Satan? A movie that showed just how important the Satanic Temple is to the separation of church and state. In Chelsea Stardust's raucous comedy, Satanic Panic, a young woman has the unfortunate luck of seeing the bad side of those who support the dark lord. Her name, just so happens to be Sam Craft (Hayley Griffith)- which, whether it was intentional or not, is a great name for someone being sacrificed to the devil. Sam delivers pizzas, needing every dollar she can get, and when she takes an order to the wealthy part of town, she's hoping for a big tip. Instead, she is stiffed, and when she goes in the house to confront the person, she just so happens to walk in on a meeting of the satanic minds. Similar to how Villains was a movie about walking into the wrong situation, Satanic Panic is a hilarious and wild addition to the horror genre.
Similar to classic 80's horror films, Satanic Panic not only has a devilish premise, but it also has a big cast of actors, each one bringing their own unique flare to the fun. The leader of the satanic group is Danica Ross (played delightfully by Rebecca Romijn), who has the wicked smile, and snakelike curves to play the perfect leader. The goal for the night was the group to sacrifice a virgin to their god, but other circumstances caused the first virgin to not work. In walks Sam, just an innocent women looking for her 15%, who is quickly drugged, and placed in a room alongside Danica's doofus husband Samuel (Jerry O'Connell). It is when Sam escapes where the fun truly begins, turning Satanic Panic in a race to catch & kill Sam before sun rise.
Directed by Chelsea Stardust and a screenplay by Graddy Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan, it is obvious that this team of artists knew how to make the premise work. Instead of it just being one house that is interested in satan, it is when Sam runs from house to house when things get good, especially when she discovers that the whole neighborhood is into Beelzebub. In one of the homes, Sam finds a kidnapped woman named Judi (Ruby Modine of Happy Death Day fame)- daughter of Danica and Samuel, who just so happens to be against all this sacrifice stuff. It all leads to a plethora of nasty, bloody deaths of course, with Sam and Judi making a wicked pair, taking out on-comers with drills, axes, and any other household tool they can use.
What impressed me the most, was how director Chelsea Stardust keeps the tone light, never moving beyond something too gory or gross, and that includes a demon creature that come to life with Danica's blood. There's even a strange sheet monster that attacks the two leading ladies, some sinister spells that cause people to puke up worms, and after all of that, Satanic Panic feels like a movie for younger teens. In many ways this is your 13-year olds introduction to movies about sacrifice and it's best to never take it too serious. I had fun viewing Satanic Panic that way. I wish I had seen it with the Cinepocalypse crowd, lord knows they had a good time with it.
Satanic Panic has a few things going on here: It's the introduction to an impressive new actor in Hayley Griffith, a strong start for a new director in Chelsea Stardust, and a revival to the legendary status of Rebecca Romijn. Enjoyable from start to finish, with twisted humor, and doing strong work with a shoestring budget is why I recommend Satanic Panic. If you can't enjoy a comedy about sacrifices to the devil, then what can you laugh about? I say don't panic, just go see this movie.
SATANIC PANIC is produced by FANGORIA and will be in Select Theaters, On Demand, and Digital on September 6th.
Written by: Leo Brady