DIRECTED BY: James Felix McKenney
FEATURING: Don Wood, Christine Spencer, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Debbie Rochon, Michael Berryman, Larry Fessenden
PLOT: In this re-imagining of the “Christ-sploitation” films shown in churches and
probably a few Southern gynecologists’ offices of the 60s and 70s, we follow a young man and woman who make all the wrong choices in a haze of drugs, alcohol, and rock music while unknowingly under the influence of two demonic imps.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Satan Hates You, while initially very jarring in its lack of self-explanation, is a satisfying experience in terms of its Troma-esque shock horror and its acute satirical edge. But its freaky imagery leans too often on a bland naturalistic style that mars its individuality and chokes the weirdness out of the movie.
COMMENTS: Satan Hates You is a very hard film to place. Being a satire, a dark comedy, and a horror film is no ordinary pedigree, and Satan Hates You maniacally shifts from one of these genres to the next every few minutes. It is a wicked send-up of those fear-mongering Christian PSA films that pop into existence every generation about the dangers of doing ungodly things like having abortions and doing drugs. But it honestly doesn’t hit you that way when you watch it if you don’t do your research. The first time watching it, I felt this to just be a dark, meandering horror-comedy about two idiots who make a lot of bad choices. Director James Felix McKenney doesn’t really go out of his way to make this idea pop out at the audience with staples of the “Christ-sploitation” genre, like cheesy acting, an oversimplification of right and wrong, and loads of self-righteous condemnation. We are instead tossed quite objectively into these people’s lives, full of sex, murder, and self-sabotage, and don’t get dropped many hints that we’re supposed to be in on a joke.
Once one understands the idea, everything falls into place a little more, and it does Continue reading CAPSULE: SATAN HATES YOU (2009)