Satanic Panic (2019) Movie Review
Ted Geoghegan and Grady Hendrix
Because you can only see the 3-hour It Chapter 2 so many times in September before you need to watch something else. In the graveyard month of September the pickings are slim unless you’re really white and would pay money to see the Downton Abbey movie or that Jennifer Lopez/Cardi B stripper movie –
Jennifer Lopez stripper movie, you say. I’m gone.
I guess someone really wanted to see Hustlers, that Jennifer Lopez/Cardi B stripper movie opening this weekend…probably for the plot.
Anyway, there’s usually not much in terms of quality during September so most of us take what we can get, eat our vegetables and wait for the Joker movie to open October.
Which is why I decided to watch the Satanist cult horror/comedy Satanic Panic. I would see Hustlers because it looks like a good movie –
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge
I thought you left to see Hustlers.
I am, but I had to come back because wanted to get my lotion.
Because of my dry skin
Oh. I was saying I’ll wait a week or so to see Hustlers so the floors are less sticky. Because of the “butter” on the popcorn.
But now, Satan compels you to read this review of Satanic Panic.
Satanic Panic opens in POV with a young woman losing her virginity to a young man. What we’re sure is a seminal moment in both persons’ lives is cut short by the young man getting violently killed.
The young girl screams.
We cut to another young woman paying the acoustic guitar and singing about the plight of the environment.
I think we would all rather see someone get killed onscreen than anybody playing the acoustic guitar.
That young guitarist is Sam (Hayley Griffith), and this is her first day at her new job. Thank goodness it’s not playing the guitar for people but it’s something that also serves the public for the greater good.
Sam is a pizza delivery driver. Using her Vespa. Yeah, she needs the money.
After bugging her sort-of boyfriend Duncan (indie horror stalwart AJ Bowen) for the job, Sam finally gets her chance. Duncan might want some reciprocation. Sam would rather not.
There’s a montage of Sam getting stiffed on tips, helping people move sofas, learning about the rule of Sam, and just generally looking pathetic on her Vespa.
It’s her first day. As she gets more experience, she’ll get the more lucrative pizza routes.
Then she gets a call to deliver pizza to Mill Basin.
You know, Mill Basin. The neighborhood is primarily mansions and manicured lawns, but they are notoriously cheap and fraud drivers on their tips even if they don’t have to. One of Sam’s co-workers tells her of a time he got much more than a tip when he delivered pies there years ago (“I went there a delivery boy. I came back a delivery man.”).
Sam agrees to deliver to Mill Basin, because why not? It’s 5 pizzas with a total over $100. It should amount to a pretty decent tip, if they pay up.
Sam drives to a rather opulent mansion in Mill Basin. Sam delivers the pizzas. Sam gets stiffed on the tip again.
Sam is not having it.
Sam finds her way into the entrance of the house looking for the pencil-necked guy who cheated her. She hears animated conversation coming from what looks like the living room. Pencil neck must be in there. Sam goes in.
If pencil-neck is there, he’s in disguise because everyone in the living room is wearing robes. Except the woman who’s leading the…meeting. Her name is Danica Ross (Rebecca Romjin) and she owes all her money and power to the leading man in her life. It’s not her pathetic husband Samuel (Jerry “It’s Kush” O’Connell), but the almighty dark lord Satan himself.
Danica and all her Satan-worshipping friends are at the house for two very special reasons. To eat pizza and to call on the goat god to be reborn, but he can only be housed in the womb of a virgin.
Sam just really wants her tip, mostly so she can gas up the Vespa.
The Satanists now notice Sam and let’s just say that her first night on the job is about to get a whole lot worse. She went to Mill’s Basin as a delivery boy, um, woman. She may not come back except as the delivery doorway for one of the spawns of Satan.
You thought your job sucked.
What Works With Satanic Panic
- As the leader of a Satanic cult with child problems of her own, Rebecca Romjin commits fully to her role, getting the movie’s funniest and best lines while never breaking character to the ridiculousness all around her. The audience should be having as much fun as she is.
- A scene involving a strapped-on “appendage” is the only time the audience is truly caught off guard. You’ll know it when you see it. After this you should walk out of the movie because it doesn’t get any funnier/better.
What Doesn't Work With Satanic Panic
- The script from usually dependable writers Ted Geoghegan (We are Still Here) and Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Horrostor) provides very few opportunities for genuine laughs. The story is more or less predictable, but that would be more easily forgiven had we actually laughed more. The audience reads the setups for jokes, but the payoff delivers barely a chuckle or worse, complete silence. More than once I thought, “Was that supposed to be the joke?” seconds after an attempt at humor died a quiet death.
- In this “horror/comedy” the laughs are few and far between, but more so are the supposed scares. Yes, there is a sufficient amount of blood and gore if that’s what you’re looking for but very few moments of actual horror. Director Chelsea Stardust keeps the below 90-minute running time briskly paced so you’re never bored. You’re also never scared or laughing. The average episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is scarier. That’s saying something if you’re over the age of 13.
Should you give in the to dark lord Satan and watch Satanic Panic? Heaven’s no.