Satanic boasts an impressive 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I think we know what we are getting into. Another concerning feature of this film is that I had never heard of it before it landed on Netflix a while ago. I’m not saying I know about every American horror film, but I tend to be aware of those that aren’t considered crap—at least two years after release.
I am aware that complaining about poorly written characters is probably my most common gripe, and I have accused so many movies of being the worst I am sure it has lost some bite. The characters here suck—and they suck immediately. We are thrust into a group of interchangeable assholes with no real difference between them. I say fuck a lot and this movie seemed a little excessive. The vulgarity is too carelessly written (unlike Wolf of Wall Street) and works more like a cover for lack of interesting personalities.
Our four idiots are tracking locations of Satanic killings, and this is where the film goes from bad horror film to bad fear-mongering propaganda. I think a film examining the Satanic Panic could be interesting, but it would need to be in competent hands—none of which seemed to be here. Why are these four morons are investigating this crap (despite them all complaining about and wanting to go to Coachella—yep) isn’t really clear. And before you mention to me that they do try to undermine the Panic, they are also feeding into the same tired and overran anxieties that have stigmatized many. Further, having the entire experience filtered throughout dipshit-sarcastic-morons ruins whatever purpose the film is desperately trying to have.
The film becomes hilariously bad as the plot wants you to think it is somehow deep. Having a character spout new age bullshit is a breathy voice doesn’t make it any better. My advice to the filmmakers would be to decide on what tone they actually want the movie to have before filming it. The tonal imbalances in this movie are absurd, we go from stupid bro-comedy/horror, to travel horror, to new age horror, and back again. The worst part is that none of them are done very well. We are supposed to be invested in these characters, but the first half of the film does nothing to make us care. Sure, the gore effects are okay (sometimes), but gallons of blood coming from people the audience doesn’t care about leaves little room for an emotional reaction.
We also probably have a collected ten minutes of city skyline shots—and this is in an already short film. I don’t know why so many horror films are unwilling to take the time and development real people as characters.
Some seem to think the saving grace of the film is the (predictable) twist at the end. I disagree, even though in a better film it might have worked (it does in Baskin, for example). Overall, this is a stupid and derivative mess that isn’t scary or interesting. 0/10