It’s been a while since there has been a really good horror movie about a Satanic cult. Well, dear moviegoer, that wait is over. Chelsea Stardust’s new movie Satanic Panic arrives in theaters and on VOD today and it brings with it all the blood, thrills and yuks one would want out of such a devilish horror-comedy.
We meet Sam (Hayley Griffith) who is having a hellish first shift as a pizza delivery person. Forced to deal with dickish coworkers and customers, she finally has her fill when a clearly rich man stiffs her for a tip in an affluent neighborhood. She follows him inside the house to right this wrong and stumbles on to a Satanic cult meeting. Said cult is missing their planned for virgin sacrifice, and that’s where Sam unwittingly comes in handy. She then does everything she can to escape this evil packed burb before she becomes the unwilling plaything of Baphomet. Pizza delivery never looked so hard!
Hayley Griffith, here appearing in her first movie, has charm and screen presence in spades, and her star-making performance is the big takeaway from the movie. She is bound for big things after such a breakout role. The rest of the cast is loaded with great supporting performers who bring the funny, especially Arden Myrin and Jerry O’Connell, the latter of whom makes quite an impression in just one scene. Also impressive is Rebecca Romijn, here acting in her first horror movie. Apparently a fan of the genre, she definitely brings it in her role as the leader of the cult, vying to keep her position despite challenges from power-hungry underlings.
Director Chelsea Stardust shows great skill and familiarity with the horror genre with her efforts here. She packs her film with all the necessary thrills and laughs, then pours a bucket of blood on top of it, just for good measure. She then goes on to elicit great performances from actors new and veteran, showing a skillful hand that far outweighs her experience.
The script by horror novelist Grady Hendrix also deserves much praise. Like a relic unearthed from the golden days of 80s horror, it stands out from other recent horror writing based on its facility for humor. Far too many horror movies these days are deathly serious, and it’s nice to get a breath of fresh air from such staid, grave fare.
Will Sam survive this night from hell? And if so, will she even have enough gas money for the ride home? Satanic Panic asks these questions and more, and you’ll have to give it a watch if you want to learn what becomes of the movie’s pizza pie slinging hero.
Recommended if you liked: The House of the Devil, Drag Me to Hell, Jennifer’s Body
Final Grade: A-
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