SATANIC PANIC (2019)
Directed by Chelsea Stardust
20-something Sam is working her first night as a pizza delivery girl but despite her enthusiasm for her new role, it’s not exactly going to plan. When she delivers to wealthy neighbourhood Mill Basin, she’s disappointed not to receive a single tip which leaves her without fuel to get home. Disgruntled, she enters the home to ask for help but accidentally gatecrashes a satanic cult meeting who are desperate to find a replacement sacrificial virgin after theirs went and popped her cherry. Completely oblivious to what’s going on, Sam inadvertently outs herself as being a suitable replacement and so the fight is on as Sam attempts to escape her fate of birthing Baphomet which is easier said than done when the whole community is in on it.
Teen horror comedy SATANIC PANIC is the debut feature flick from director Chelsea Stardust who brings bundles of energy and attitude to this kickass good vs evil tale as a young folk singer-cum-pizza delivery girl, who loves to sing about “Australiaaaaa”, finds herself trying to outwit a group of power-hungry satanists.
Naive but with bundles of charm, Sam is trying to make good of her life so she can afford to pursue her goals. Despite her colleagues at the pizza place resigned to the fact their jobs are dead-end, she’s full of hope and enthusiasm. That’s until she gets into trouble in Mill Basin and suddenly she has to rely on her quick thinking to escape from the clutches of the coven. With enemies at every turn, she has to take whatever little help comes her way and, fortunately for her, she bumps into another innocent named Judi who wants to escape just as much as she does.
It might sound daft, but SATANIC PANIC distinctly gave me Hocus Pocus type vibes except this particular effort is definitely not for children. However, it retains that fun, slightly immature but gung-ho attitude that even in the face of mortal danger, to themselves and the world, optimism to succeed remains. If Hocus Pocus met To The Devil A Daughter by way of Society at a millennial rock gig, SATANIC PANIC would probably be the outcome.
Hayley Griffith is terrific as lead character Sam. She’s got the right amount of innocence as Sam as she naturally stumbles through her quest to survive and escape this upper class nightmare. Although Sam isn’t without a little help, it seems for the large part that she is quite capable of inadvertently defending herself, even against mega drildo strap-on wearing bitches!
Rebecca Romijn lures in the viewer and the male characters as the sultry head of the satanic cult, Danica Ross. It’s interesting to watch the power struggle as certain members of her cult, led by Gypsy (Arden Myrin), attempt to seize control and lead the way. However Danica seems to always be one step ahead with various tricks up her sleeve. Romijn’s real life husband, the ever-charming Jerry O’Connell, also appears in a minor role as her hen-pecked onscreen husband and fully throws himself into the character for a memorable, if brief, performance.
Sometimes you want to just sit back, get the popcorn out and have some good ol’ horror fun, and I can certainly say that SATANIC PANIC ticks the box. It doesn’t require too much thought and allows you to switch off and enjoy the treats it has in store, from various spells and black magic performed by the cult to Sam’s reaction to the enemies she’s faced with. The big kid in me loved it and everything about the film feels polished and finished to a high quality. It isn’t afraid of ramping up the horror element either and splashes the red stuff about as much as it experiments with other ideas of horror. If you suffer from claustrophobia then being attacked by bed linen might be your worst nightmare but turning into a human pin cushion looks just as uncomfortable.
Energetic with a youthful spirit, wise-cracking script and an unexpected touching story about not giving up on others, SATANIC PANIC is a rambunctious devilish delight.