Satanic, a film that will try to attempt to convince you that it’s not your typical, uninspired list of clichés pretending to be a film solely on the fact that they somehow tricked Modern Family star Sarah Hyland into being in this mess. Satanic, can be summed up in words but none can do the job of describing the quality film as just a single glance at this movie poster:
This poster just becomes a game of spot the cliché, spot how unoriginal this movie is and the 1st day using Photoshop quality is more horrific than the film itself. The tagline is also unlike anything I’ve heard before as this movie promises to “Unleash the Ultimate Evil”. I think this was also said in some other scary movie trailer or tagline but I can’t think of it so I’m going to say it was all of them, all of them have also unleashed the ultimate evil. In order for someone to have fun while viewing this movie I thought I would create a fun drinking game of all the cliché elements of the film but decided against encouraging anyone reading this to suffer alcohol poisoning. Instead I decided to encourage you to play Satan Bingo, like regular Bingo but you might get cursed or something. The rules are simple fill out a bingo board with a bunch of horror film cliché feel free to use mine, re-arrange them, come up with your own and compete with your friends to see who get bingo or summons Satan first. I was inspired by the movie poster and designed my board in Microsoft PowerPoint. This is just a joke to expose some of the over-used elements of the film but I’ll leave the Satan Bingo template if you want to play this will watching this any horror film your heart desires.
I while now go into a deeper analysis of the film and it’s problems and well done attributes so beware the dreaded spoilers.
The film opened with a montage of the devil being depicted in various old films and then ends with this quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I can’t say I’ve heard of Samuel Taylor Coleridge before so I looked him up to make sure he wasn’t a porn star or anything such as that, also made sure this wasn’t just the first quote to come up if you search “devil” on the Brainy Quote website. Turns out Coleridge was a 19th century poet, with one work being “The Devil’s Walk”. I think the quote may appear in this poem but it was rather lengthy so I did not look over the entire thing. The poem is a satirical poem on the state of the British government, I don’t think we’ll be drawing any parallels to it.
The film opens with a girl walking around in what looks like a Spirit Halloween Store and then gets jump-spooked. Then I hate to inform whoever messed up but what is this shot doing in this movie. A nice-looking helicopter shot of Los Angeles mysteriously finds its way into this low budget horror movie. This shot belongs in a generic action movie not a generic horror movie. It’s not the greatest city skyline establishing shot, the camera sways back and forth which is supposed to make the audience feel that things are off-balanced and give a distorted effect which I guess it works.
Then we see the teens drive up and four seconds in and all the characters somehow managed to prove that, I’m probably not going to like them. The teens get lost and while checking their phones GPS this scene occurs were a silhouette of a man humping is seen from a top a building. I do not only like the existence of a Wiley humping man outside some building near Los Angeles but Sarah Hyland has an admittedly natural reaction of just going “hey to you to buddy”. Honestly, I know people, myself included who would probably have the same or a similar snarky comment on the scenario so the movie earned its first gold star. [ The best part about this scene, is that I’m not joking, this is the most important scene in the movie. More on that later]
I’ve noticed that horror movies often name drop true names and people of murders to relate the audience to an eerie real-life incident to connect theme to the supernatural horror. The history in this one of Laney Gore and as far as I could discern this is not real. This movie creates its own urban legend which while far-fetched is plausible and seems as though it could be real.
If that’s not enough the movie decides to try again and as the teens arrive and spew exposition about the murder house out of nowhere an impatient guy honks his horn and is like can you please not stand in my driveway. The fact that the movie is trying to convince me that the never noticed this guy either walk up to his car and decide to move politely or that this guy has been sitting in his car waiting for them to move and finally getting to his boiling point that he has to honk his horn again it’s hilarious.
If that’s not enough the movie decides to try again and as the teens arrive and spew exposition about the murder house they are visiting but never actual go to and out of nowhere an impatient guy honks his horn and is like can you please not stand in my driveway. The fact that the movie is trying to convince me that the never noticed this guy either walk up to his car and decide to move politely or that this guy has been sitting in his car waiting for them to move and finally getting to his boiling point that he has to honk his horn again it’s hilarious.
The teens continue there tour of probably better movie backstories and end up going to a store owned by a skinhead Neo-Nazi looking fellow. Quickly getting annoyed with the characters unlikable personalities such as I did, the Neo-Nazi politely asks them to leave his store. Thinking there is something strange about the shop owner they decide they need to follow him and see what he does in his free time. The follow him and discover his underground satanic cult.
They then see this one girl and she’s about to be sacrificed to the devil but they yell and disrupt the ceremony. This causes skinhead neo-Nazi to grab a shotgun and instead of aiming at them he just fires warning shots in the air because he knows they have to get away, it says so in the script. To make them running away more intense the camera man shakes the camera but instead of a little shake to create the effect the camera man creates a 7 on the Richter Scale earthquake.
After ten minutes of nothing important happening, things go from zero to a hundred real quick as the cult sacrifice girl who staying with the group now decides to slit her throat in front of them. It appears the movie can’t think of a good transition so it cuts to commercial break and then returns to your regularly scheduled Netflix viewing. The film is directed by an experienced TV director so maybe his long pause reaction shot fade to black into the next scene may be because of those roots.
The film later continues with maybe the worst dream sequence ever as dreams anything can happen, it has a chance to break reality and provide an image of something frightful and it does absolutely nothing with it. In the dream Sarah Hyland hears her friend in the bathroom and she goes and checks the bathroom and the toilet is clogged because inefficient pluming is truly scary, followed by her opening the shower curtain. The film doesn’t quite know what to put behind their so they put nothing behind it. Sarah Hyland looks in the mirror and sees some weird looking thing poking out of her stomach that I think was supposed to be her intestines but it looks so unnatural and fake that I can’t be too sure about that.
This next scene goes off the rails so try to stay with me. Scary stuff starts happening as the Fred, I mean the leader guy decides to alert everyone that someone drew a pentagram on the mirror while he was showering and he for one is not amused. Not only that but a lot of paranormal occurrences are happening. They stumble upon a Halloween decoration that’s been skewered by Ticonderoga No.2 Pencils.
The group continues to follow these strange anomalies and are lead outside to see the cast of Birdemic: Shock and Terror making a cameo and are found dead in the swimming pool. I guess you could say that it looks like they found a murder.
Most reviews found on Netflix seem to share a disdain for the film’s ending and I agree with the critics complaining and in all honesty, it gets difficult to explain what happens. I would recommend watching the first fifteen minutes for the unintentional comedy, and the fast forward to the last fifteen minutes to witness how absurd and derailed this film becomes absurd. The group confronts the Skinhead Neo-Nazi and
The cult was actually getting rid of the girl who killed herself because she was too edgy for even them. After this the film reveals its greatest weakness in that it’s neither got the production to pull off a devil make-up/poorly rendered CGI demon or have the creativity of a Final Destination film to dispose of its main characters so one by one they just disappear. Remember earlier when I told you that scene of the man humping was the most important scene. That’s because
A frightened Sarah Hyland slams on the window as the Sarah Hyland from before looks on at her. She apparently, was the strange man the whole time. How is this possible, does it reflect some sort of state of purgatory, does it show the inescapable power of the devil, is it to keep adding edgy horror clichés in the film? The film concludes with Sarah Hyland arm-less and in a closed space with her mouth sewn shut. The ending is forced, extremely quick, convoluted yet dull, and lacks anything meaning full past oh boy this is scary isn’t.
Besides breaking down the plot there is a couple additional things that should be mentioned. The first is the cinematography. While in the grand scheme of things not that impressive there are times were the film has no right to look so good. The landscape establishing shots are appealing and the film knows how to frame a horror film. It has its moment despite being standard for the most part. The excessive use of foul language is irritating. I for one don’t mind that much for the use of expletives but this film has almost every other line of dialogue contains some sort of curse word. If anything, it just exposes how limited the vocabulary of the screenwriter is and how poorly the writers relied on this crutch to display emotion. It typical in horror for the main characters to represent frowned upon ideas such as drugs, alcohol, and sex and to be punished for their sins but this film greatly over-exaggerates this. The characters are just un-relatable and irredeemable that the audience doesn’t really care what happens to them in the end.
Satanic, can be described as an awful creepy pasta of a film one that instead of being interesting instead tries to way too hard to convince you that the devil is the scariest thing ever. However, the film does not try hard enough as the decent at best acting, the first draft style script, and poor attempts at horror and comedy. If the Devil ever wants to torture me he might put this movie on eternal repeat.
All images used are from the film Satanic owned by the production companies: Magnet Releasing, MarVista Entertainment, and Circle of Confusion. Satanic can currently be viewed on Netflix streaming services.