At present, we’re in a post-Halloween hangover. There’s just a lack of good quality new horror movies hitting streaming platforms. So while we wait for something new and interesting to pop up, I’ve taken to scouring old titles on Netflix. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I will brave unknown titles for you. Want to know what’s worth watching? I’ll give you the lowdown here. First up is occult-themed horror outing, Satanic.
Four friends on their way to Coachella take a detour in Los Angeles to explore occult-themed tourist sites. When the friends have a negative confrontation with an occult bookstore owner, they decide to play a prank and follow him. But things go horribly wrong when they interrupt what appears to be a ritualistic sacrifice. With a young cult runaway in tow, a shocking violent act will send the friends on an irreversible path.
Satanic Briefly Flashes Some Potential … And Then It’s Gone
For a brief moment, Satanic looks like it’s going to a make a turn for the better. Fifteen to 20 minutes of the movie is serviceable set-up. But the motel scene’s tense and shocking interaction between our protagonists and a cult runaway briefly hints at greater potential. That one bloody scene was precisely the first moment where Satanic like more than just straight-to-video junk. Alas, it was a fleeting moment. Director Jeffrey Hunt clearly has nothing left up his sleeve. From that point onward, Satanic is a dull and rote occult thriller. Things only get worse in a cheap-looking, convoluted climax.
Your Mind WIll Wander to Better Movies
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. That may the case, but Satanic does itself no favours calling to mind much better films. Throughout the movie, I found myself reminded of 1970’s cult classic Race With The Devil. Both movies share the same premise. Two couples inadvertently witness a ritual sacrifice and are subsequently pursued by devil worshippers. Of course, the key big difference between the two movies is that Race With The Devil is actually kind of a good movie. In contrast, Satanic feels like a high school student’s project on the occult. It never amounts to much more than a collection of Wikipedia-ized occult factoids.
Satanic a Failed Starring Vehicle for Sarah Hyland
In the 1990’s, Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt used horror to make the move from television to the big screen in Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, respectively. Paris Hilton jumped rom reality television to the House of Wax remake in the 2000’s. More recently, Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale played Truth or Dare in the hopes of igniting a film career. Poor Sarah Hyland probably wishes Modern Family would go on forever.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with her portrayal, but like the ret of the movie, it’s not memorable either.
Hyland is the only recognizable face that turns up in Satanic. Not surprisingly then, she’s left to carry the acting load with what’s best described as a middling performance. There’s nothing inherently wrong with her portrayal, but like the rest of the movie, it’s not memorable either. Everyone else in the movie manages to avoid dragging the movie down. Steven Krueger comes pretty close with what’s best described as a knuckle-headed performance.
The Only Thing Satanic Sacrifices Is Your Time
Satanic is the worst kind of ‘bad’ movie – it’s boring. Some of the 1970’s occult offerings, like The Devil’s Rain, are flawed movie but what they’re not is outright boring. Thought there’s the occasional flicker of promise, Satanic is largely a scare-free viewing experience that struggles to cobble together a coherent occult narrative.
THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: D