Movies come out all the time that it’s hard to keep track. That statement was true enough when the theaters were fully open. It’s gotten worse with streaming. Netflix being the worst of them just dumps movies on their site without fan fare sometimes that it’s impossible to keep up because it had no marketing budget. That takes us to this horror flick that came out sometime this year (see Netflix says 2020, but the films Wiki and IMDb says 2019. Usually I would just go with the latter, but this year has been so starved for movies that, like Hamilton, I’m counting it as this year).
Produced by Saban, the Power Ranger people of things, and set in the heart of the Satantic Panic 80s, it follows a trio of heavy metal goth girls. After a concert they meet up with a group of guys who they decide to hang out with at an abandoned estate owned by one of the female trio. Unfortunately a series of Satainc murders are rocking the nation and this house far away from town is far from safe. As the night goes on secrets are revealed, people fight for their lives, and the true devil is revealed.
This movie ends up being a lot of fun. That description, made ominous on purpose, does little to get across how unlike a conventional slasher flick this ends up being. It still has all the tropes mind you, but uses them in some clever and interesting ways.
In fact the film is less a conventional slasher film and more of a closed room drama, with more sets than those would have. Most of the drama and tensions centers around the tight knit group of characters and their interactions with each other, and when more characters enter the picture. The closed setting and themes also feels like a Twilight Zone-esque anthology.
The acting is also quite good. The actors, mostly unknowns to me, have a good range and can pull of the awkwardness of interacting with new people, and can switch to fit the different situations they get in. Once everything hits the fan, though, the same actors really know how to ham it up and go really silly in the best way with it. And I am there for that!
What holds the film back is a slow opening that betrays what the film will become, and a conclusion that does not push the ideas it goes for nearly as well as it could. Also, for being a slasher film there is only one kind of fun death, and another that should be gruesome and cool to watch, but perpetrated off screen. That, too, makes it disappointing.
It’s hard to tell how much of the midway twist is supposed to be a twist, and how much I should share of it. The reveal, when it happens, feels fresh and shuffles the deck to make it more unothordox even as it still finds way to follow tradition. I will say that the fact the Satantic murders are taking place in religious areas is not a coincidence, and, as someone who is interested in the false nature of the Satantic panic, found their explanation of all the murders that took place to be unique.
This feels like it’s a lost gem. A pretty good slasher movie with good reveals, actors, a natural series of events once everything gets rolling, but takes too long to get to that, and doesn’t end nearly as well as it could have.
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