A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Satanic Panic is a horror-comedy about a pizza delivery driver (Hayley Griffith) who becomes entangled with a cult of Satan worshippers. Much of the blood and gore are played for laughs, but you can still expect to see organs pulled from human bodies through mouths or other open wounds, creepy monsters and creatures, punching, slicing, drilling, guns/shooting, death, and more. Language is very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and much more, plus frequent sex-related talk. There's suggested teen sex (a young woman is shown on top of a man, with heavy breathing sounds), brief full-frontal nudity, toplessness, naked bottoms (with groping), kissing, men and women stripping down to their underwear, and more. Drug references include a character snorting cocaine, brief pot-smoking, and two young women gulping a bottle of whisky.
What's the story?
In SATANIC PANIC, Sam Craft (Hayley Griffith) is working her first day as a pizza delivery person, and it's not going well. Customers refuse to tip her, and she can't even afford gas. After delivering five pies to a huge mansion, Sam's bike won't start, so she marches back in to demand her tip. She stumbles upon a pack of Satan worshippers, led by Danica (Rebecca Romijn), preparing for some dark ritual. But they need a virgin to complete it, and it turns out that Sam fits the bill. She escapes and runs into Danica's daughter, Judi (Ruby Modine), who knows a little something about what's going on and helps Sam hide. But the Satanists find them, and the ritual to summon a demon begins. No one is prepared when an even more powerful demon intervenes.
Is it any good?
This horror-comedy might have had the potential to provide shocking delights and ghoulish laughs, but it ends up unappealing and flat, with overly broad attempts at humor and not much horror. That said, Satanic Panic -- written by Grady Hendrix and directed by Chelsea Stardust -- is definitely enthusiastic. But the tones just don't match up or make sense. The movie is brightly colored yet oddly unattractive. In the lead role, Griffith is likable enough but also a little flat; her reactions to the wild things happening around her never inspire tingles -- or laughter.
Romijn tries out an interestingly detached approach to her Satanist character that also doesn't quite click. And her red-robed cohorts feel like something out of a slapsticky sitcom. Slightly better is Modine (from the Happy Death Day movies, which got the humorous/horror tone just right), affecting a snappy patter for her character that at least keeps things moving. But it's Jerry O'Connell who gets the biggest laughs in a brief, doomed role as Danica's not-too-bright layabout husband (he's also Romijn's real-life husband). His "I don't care" attitude is the only thing that breaks through Satanic Panic's overall blandness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Satanic Panic's violence. Does the fact that it's supposed to be funny make any of it seem less intense or gory? Why or why not?
The movie has lots of sex-related talk. How is sex viewed in the movie? What values are imparted?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies? How can a horror movie be both funny and scary?
Are rich people all evil, as the movie suggests? Does money corrupt? Is it possible to be rich and still be a good person?
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