Chelsea Stardust (director)
26 August 2019 (released)
29 August 2019
Unashamedly courting the teen horror market that Blumhouse has practically owned for the last decade or so, director Chelsea Stardust and writers Grady Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan also look back to Brian Yuzna’s Society whilst adding their own observations on the current situation in the US.
Sam (Hayley Griffith) is a new pizza delivery person who’s not having a good time of things having been charged a $5 deposit for the pizza-bag by her boss, and then having put up with her colleagues’ reactions to her talents as a folk singer. Charged with delivering a number of pizzas to a posh part of town she duly delivers only to be stiffed for the tip.
Deciding that she needs the tip and there’s a principle involved, she sneaks back into the huge house to walk into a meeting of the neighbourhood elite. Asking for the tip, her coyness over a very personal question promptly gets her locked up with Sam (Jerry O’Connell). He’s just lounging and gets around to explaining that she’s about to be sacrificed to a demon in return for the coven maintaining their station in life.
After a bloody escape she finds herself in another huge house with a ditzy babysitter who’s not quite what she seems having a woman tied up in the one of the bedrooms. Another escape with Judi (Ruby Modine) a daughter of one of the elite couples though not that interested in devil worship. Sharp of mind and tongue she is straight with Sam about what she has got herself into, while unloading barbed comments about all aspects of her social status, and appearance.
Meanwhile there’s panic in the coven as they are approaching their deadline with no sacrifice. This instigates some very funny exchanges between the group as they vie for leadership and power. Cue Arden Myrin as gypsy and Rebecca Romijn as Danica deliciously catting it out for the leadership of the coven.
It all gets very gory and is actually nastier than the usual teen pleasers. There’s also non-too subtle comments placed in the mouths of the actors about the social mess that the US is in. This harps back to Society which used grotesque body-horror to satirise the incestuous nature of high society. Satanic Panic doesn’t have that level of sophistication as Sam is pitched directly into the fray, blatantly symbolising the divide between the elite and the blue collar.
Setting that aside the essential thing is that Satanic Panic is a fun packed film that unlike some of the other films in this field probably could sustain repeated viewing.