A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life – and her tips – when her last order of the night turns out to be high society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.
If I ever was going to call a movie with the word “satanic” in it charming, it would be 2019’s Satanic Panic film directed by Chelsea Stardust and written by Ted Geoghegan.
Satanic Panic has all of the qualities that we look for in comedy driven horror films (that others have fallen short on). It takes on the concept of the elite and rich being fueled by the supernatural forces of Satanism keeping them wealthy and powerful. My experience with devil-driven movies have always run the courses of being dark, eerie, and disturbing, however Satanic Panic manages to include those elements by putting a spin on them, an embraceable, spin that drives character over impact.
It all begins with the immensely charming Hayley Griffith who plays the role of Samantha ‘Sam’ Craft, a local pizza delivery girl who is just trying to make enough in tips to pay for her gas.
Sam finds that life is just not that easy for the lowly pizza delivery girl. Tips are infrequent, her co-worker won’t stop hitting on her, and despite traveling around on a motor scooter, Sam just can’t seem to make ends meet. New to the job, Sam is informed about sections of the city that tend to tip better than others. It is this idea that drives her to deliver to an out of area location where the homes reside in gated communities that live life to its fullest. This leads her to a wealthy estate where the recipients are reluctant to tip her despite the large order they placed. Down on her luck, she decides to confront them by demanding a tip so that she has enough gas money to make it back home. Sam breaks into the house only to discover that it is a group gathering of satanic worshipers. This sets the first act up for things to come.
Danica Ross played by Rebecca Romijn is the film’s acting head Satanist leading the group thru a ritual that requires a virgin sacrifice. Sam fits this profile perfectly. Danica, intent on succeeding in her ploy to raise the demon Baphomet does not anticipate her colleagues plot against her with their own agenda of power. Things go from quirky to weird as one ritual leads into the next.
The movie makes great use of practical effect work by keeping things really weird with demonic creatures, bizarre ritualistic apparatuses, and a community that seems to embrace chaos and murder without thinking twice.
As Samantha begins to realize what a mess she has stumbled into, she additionally ends up meeting some of the wacky neighbors along the way who all are all a part of this cult mentality, one way or another.
Satanic Panic succeeds in the simple fact that its often rooted in absurd dialog driven humor. If I were to classify it I would say that it has the kind of zany substance that I’ve come to love from 80’s horror era films while still managing to add in gore and violence in a whimsical way. Head-stabbing and disemboweling scenes are given a humorous tone rather than the visceral circumstances that they are in other horror films. The underlying tone of the “world within the world” suggesting that rich people are all part of a cult fueled by some form of demonic entity, is additionally addressed several times per the statements such as “would you rather be on your knees your whole life or standing tall for the rest of your life”.
Actor Jerry O’Connell takes an extremely small role in this movie despite being one of the credited actors, though his scene is perfectly incorporated as the homeowner husband who has accepted his fate under his wife Danica’s leadership as cult leader. Rebecca Romijn seems to be having alot of fun with her role despite its controversial aspects of demon worship. Though actor Hayley Griffith takes the prize here as the naive and often ignorant piece of the puzzle who slowly discovers that the world is not always as it appears to be.
Further effect work connects the scenes perfectly using minimal practical effect resource presented in often gross but charming ways. This film is simply a guilty pleasure of sorts that takes its que from horror gem accomplishments of past decades. It is also nice to see the traditional aspects of demonic horror given a dark comedic twist worthy of repeat viewings. I’m going to recommend this one as a nice icebreaker to lighten up your home viewing!