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cast: Annie Sorell, Jeffrey Combs, Angus Scrimm, James Russo, and Brett Erickson

director: Dan Golden

88 minutes (15) 2006
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
As opening scenes go, Satanic's is pretty stunning. Something has gone terribly wrong and the driver of the car we're sitting in is demanding to know why Michelle did what she did. He's driving faster, paying less attention all the time until the inevitable happens. There's a car crash, two people are dead, one horribly disfigured and we're five minutes into the film, if that.

From the moment the bandages come off and Michelle (Annie Sorrell) sees her improbably well restored face, it's clear that Satanic walks the fine line between ridiculous pulp nonsense and inventive low-budget thriller. The twin plot strands, of Michelle trying to find out what happened prior to the crash (and being haunted by the ghost of the car's driver) and the growing horrors unleashed in the shelter she's housed at, make for an unusually plot heavy piece of low budget horror and work, for the most part, very well. Sorrell brings the right combination of fear and slight otherness to Michelle whilst horror legends Jeffrey Combs and Angus Scrimm do great work as a detective and doctor respectively.

But for once, the joy here is in the journey, not the destination. The gradual discovery of what Michelle did, the dream sequences and the final reveal are all well within sight of high camp but are played with such conviction, and on such a non-existent budget, that they work. Even the ending itself, which would make any EC Comics' reader very proud works in this context.

Satanic knows exactly what it is and never, once, tries to be anything else. It's ambitious, smart and energetic and is designed to do nothing more than entertain you for 90 minutes. The fact that it succeeds on a tiny percentage of the budget of even the smallest blockbuster is testament to the hard work of everyone involved. Great, and bloody, fun!

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