Pizza delivery girl Sam (Hayley Griffith) offers to make a delivery to a neighbourhood that sits just outside her employer’s usual catchment area. Desperate for money and hoping to receive a tip from the wealthy recipients, Sam is angry when she’s greeted rudely and has the door slammed in her face. Refusing to give up, Sam sneaks into the house and stumbles upon a satanic ritual led by Danica Ross (Rebecca Romijn). When she asks for her tip, Sam is knocked out and when she wakes up she realises she is the virgin sacrifice the group has been looking for.
Satanic Panic is from director Chelsea Stardust and writer Grady Hendrix. In an unfortunate bit of scheduling at Arrow Video FrightFest, it screened less than 24 hours after Ready Or Not, which features many similarities to this film. Satanic Panic starts off strong with punchy one-liners and a loveable heroine in Sam. The film wastes no time getting into the meat of the story and no sooner have you been introduced to Sam, she’s been locked in a room with Danica’s horny husband (Jerry O’Connell) who wants to have sex with her so she’s no longer a virgin.
Sam’s night goes from bad to worse as she tries to escape her captors. She happens upon Danica’s disgraced daughter Judi (Ruby Modine) and the two form a quick friendship, united in their fight to stay alive and defeat the satanic cult. Meanwhile Danica is dealing with dissent in the ranks with Gypsy (Arden Myrin) jostling to become the group’s leader, and determined to stop at nothing to ensure that happens.
Satanic Panic starts off by leaning into the absurdity of its premise but somewhere along the way it stops being very funny. Had the film fully leaned into the craziness, it would have been a hoot throughout but it starts to lag once Sam and Judi hole up in a neighbouring house to decide a plan of action. The climax builds into a bit of a mess combining the orgy-fest that plagued season 2 of True Blood and losing the logic of its plot.
Amidst the chaos Hayley Griffith manages to keep her head above water and gives a superb performance. She’s a great final girl and has a peppy delivery that makes you root for her. Equally good is Ruby Modine who goes from frenemy to friend for Sam when she realises that the two could actually help each other. Rebecca Romijn pulls off the role of Danica with ease. She’s good at playing seductively nasty characters and she was perfect for this.
I really wanted Satanic Panic to be one of the breakout hits of the festival but sadly it’s not the case. The film was overshadowed by the superior Ready Or Not yesterday and it never reaches its full potential. Satanic Panic is very watchable but it’s also very forgettable and once you’ve seen it, there’s probably no real need to revisit it again.
Cast: Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Jordan Ladd, Ruby Modine, Hayley Griffith Director: Chelsea Stardust Writers: Grady Hendrix Certificate: TBC Duration: 85 mins Released by: Aperture Entertainment