Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sarah Hyland, Steven Krueger, Justin Chon, Clara Mamet, Sophie Dalah, Anthony Carrigan, Marc Barnes
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski
Directed by: Jeffrey G. Hunt
MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence, language throughout, brief nudity and some drug use
Running Time: 85
Date: 07/08/2016

Satanic (2016)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Gratin' Satan

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This third-rate horror movie gets off to a bad start with its annoying and horrible characters. It's very slow to get going, and when it finally gets to a fairly spooky climax, it's too late to care. The characters are rude and selfish, and constantly swear and bicker; they are no fun to be around, and they quickly run through any kind of goodwill an audience might give them.

On their spring break, Chloe (Sarah Hyland), her boyfriend David (Steven Krueger), her cousin Elise (Clara Mamet) and Elise's boyfriend Seth (Justin Chon) decide to take a tour of Los Angeles's satanic landmarks before heading to Coachella. Following a man (Anthony Carrigan) from a satanic bookshop, they discover some kind of ritual taking place, and a girl, Alice (Sophie Dalah), fleeing from the scene. Alice picks up Seth's lost phone, and the friends agree to put her up for the night. But she unexpectedly takes her own life, and warns them that she will "see them soon." Not long after, strange things begin happening. Chloe finds herself in a terrible nightmare, unable to escape.

When the characters get into trouble, it's not because of any kind of honest mistake, but rather because they are being awful. The plot requires them to stay put in Los Angeles long after they should have left, and this puts further drag on the storytelling. It's only when the foursome finally decide to leave that director Jeffrey G. Hunt manages some mildly inventive haunted house-type chills, thanks to a dark, abandoned industrial building, lit only by cell phones. Unfortunately, by that time Satanic comes across as little more than a technical exercise, because the characters have already ceased to matter.

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