My expectations were tempered for Satanic even though I was excited due to the film’s subject matter. Supernatural type films are generally the only kind of horror that can actually give me a fright at times. Consequently, the poor reviews and non theatrical release (at least around here) made me think this would be somewhat average. How I long for average after seeing it.
The Movie Itself (2/5)
I’m not sure anyone involved with Satanic has actually watched a horror film before. While there are some decent ideas, the execution is awful. First off, we get a couple false openings that both seem out of place. Since this movie is called Satanic, let’s throw something about Anton LaVey in there. Next, we will show our main protagonist walk down a hall covered in satanic symbols and have a small jump scare. The film can start now that those are out of the way.
We meet our group of travelers, two couples who before they get to Coachella, decided to take a self organized satanic tour in Los Angeles. Chloe (Sarah Hyland, Modern Family) and her boyfriend David seem to be just humoring our half-goth half-satanic enthusiasts Seth and Elise. Almost immediately, I am liking David’s no nonsense “what the hell are we doing here” attitude. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t get used to it, because most of the characters change personalities a few times to further the little bit of plot.
Since they are on a “tour” they are sure to hit all of the hot spots. First stop on Seth and Elise’s itinerary is the L.A. chapter of the Church of Satan. The people that live there make sure to ignore them, scare them, and spit on their vehicle. As a result, it is now off to the Tate residence (where some of the Manson murders occurred), before ending up at a satanic shop. Here they encounter an unfriendly store owner who, instead of taking advantage of the tourists, gives them the cold shoulder, so much so they eventually decide to follow him. Follow him? Yes they want to see where he goes…okay.
Our fearless adventurers stumble upon a ritual of some sort after following Mr. Shop Owner (he legally changed his name to that for some reason) to a house set far back in the woods off of a couple side roads. There they witness a ritual and get caught when trying to stop it. Did I mention at one point they cut the headlights, but the lighting needed for the cameras makes the scene look very awkward? How about the super bright LED light they are shining not far from the house while people are outside? If they are in complete darkness, they would be fairly easy to see with that. When they get back to their hotel, Seth realizes he somehow dropped his phone with the video recording on it.
I suppose I failed to mention the hotel room. Elise booked the room where a young girl slit her own throat and tried to invoke satanic rights many years ago. So when Alice calls with Seth’s lost phone, we get some much needed plot. Without this, they would have left for Coachella and there would be no film; except this doesn’t happen until 45 min into it. Yes, you did just spend that much time following four friends around L.A. sightseeing and stalking people.
This film is clearly hampered by its budget. They fill the speakers with creepy whispers throughout the film, even when it makes no sense in the context. Also, there are zero effects of any kind until the last 20 minutes or so, anything prior happens off-screen. The set designs are simple which isn’t inherently bad, but they do nothing with them. They could have easily made this story take place in one or two locations and try to get more from the story. The young actors actually did a nice job and carry a few scenes, however their characters were still terribly written.
Visuals/Picture Quality (4/5)
The picture quality was excellent for much of the film. Some of the overhead and further away shots you will lose some detail. Everything close up and dealing with our cast looks great though. Colors are bright and vibrant with nice clarity.
Score/Audio Quality (4.5/5)
The sound is one of the lone bright spots in Satanic. The bass has some good thump to it and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track makes full use of the rear speakers. There are some licensed music tracks throughout the film, but they are done well and fit the scenes they are in.
Special Features (1.5/5)
The Making of Satanic (6:47) A few of the cast and crew talk about shooting the whole film in 15 days. I enjoy making of features the most, but this has little to it and can be skipped.
The Cast (05:28) The cast talk a little bit about their roles and some of the fun antics off screen.
Special Effects (03:27) This may explain why there are no special effects until the end of film. Apparently, they could not afford the makeup/special effects person Jerry. Therefore, they ended up being pretty lucky when he read the script (!) and still wanted to do the film.
Behind the Scenes Footage (01:47) Just some of the shots seen in the previous special features, only with no voice-over.
- The Last King
- The Wave
- Last Shift
- Disc Art
- Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English SDH
Runtime 84 Mins
Satanic Overall (2/5)
Magnet is one of my favorite distributors. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat inconsistent with their releases. Where some releases get the best slipcovers in the business and are chock full of special features, others not so much. I understand why this film has a somewhat bare-bones Blu-ray after seeing its budget and reception. This film can certainly be worth a rental to check out for the satanist in your life… or your average horror fan. Don’t go in expecting many scares or you will be disappointed. I would buy this film around the $8-10 mark and not anywhere close to the $23 Amazon and Best Buy are asking for it. Several better films can be had for much less; both newer horror or other Magnet releases.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.