Home » Porno (yes, that’s really its title) [Frightfest 2019 Review]

Porno (yes, that’s really its title) [Frightfest 2019 Review]

Teens in theater Porno

When actor Katelyn Pearce was first approached to star in the horror-comedy movie Porno, the project was simply called “untitled teen horror film.” It’s understandable, considering Pearce has to get pretty naked over the course of the movie, so that plus the word porno spells disaster. However, if there’s any justice in the world, Keola Racela’s hilarious, thrilling, and endlessly entertaining directorial debut will be allowed retain its title. It’s impossible imagining this flick being called anything as perfect.

Porno takes place almost entirely at a rundown movie theater where the staff are super-religious to the point they actually pray before work — as they gather to start their shift, the no-nonsense manager notes that alt chick Chaz can wear as much makeup as she wants, because nothing could cover up her love of Christ. When their day is done, the kids are allowed to watch one movie but they have to agree on it or the straight edge projectionist, known against his will as Heavy Metal Jeff, won’t play it.

Related: Girl on the Third Floor [Frightfest 2019 Review]

After venturing through a mysterious door that’s definitely been sealed off for a reason, the hapless gang discovers a whole other theater underneath the main cinema. They also find a disc that’s clearly Satanic based on its markings. After talking Jeff into playing it for them, these incredibly faith-focused teens are shocked to discover it’s actually…pornography. Now, to be clear, the film isn’t sexy; it’s goofy, funny, and dark, but they don’t know the difference having never experienced anything like it before.

Lillith in Porno

In fact, one of the kids asks cluelessly “Is this an arthouse film?” just as it’s getting going. Rather than simply a bad porno, however, the film unleashes a hungry sex demon (played by Pearce) intent on ravishing these poor virgins and burning their place of work to the ground. Can they beat her and also keep the theater intact before their boss comes back and everybody either gets in trouble, dies, or both? If you’ve watched a few of these things, you probably know the answer, but it doesn’t make the journey to getting there any less insanely fun (emphasis on insane).

First and foremost, the cast is absolutely spot on. The body count in Porno isn’t high but it doesn’t really matter when each and every character is so damn likeable, from the incorrigible Heavy Metal Jeff (a hilarious Robbie Tann) to relative rule-breaker Chaz (Jillian Mueller) and their hapless buddies. They’re all fully fleshed-out as characters and their chemistry is irresistible, whether they’re ribbing each other for not being godly enough, fighting over which movie to play for that one, glorious screening, or trying to force make-out sessions.

The religious angle is mostly played for laughs, but Racela, working from a tight script credited to Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli, isn’t coming from a judgmental place — the Westboro Baptist Church this is not. These are good kids, some of whom are happy to remain committed to their faith while others are desperate to break free, who find themselves simultaneously in a terrifying situation and exposed to sin for maybe the first time in their young lives.

Group in Porno flashlights

It’s great to see a female villain too, particularly one who manages to be both enticingly sexy (so we believe dumb young men will fall at her knees) and terrifyingly in thrall to Satan (who shows up briefly, much to the delight of those of us who own him in cuddly toy form). Lillith’s powers are myriad, and Porno‘s killer practical FX ensure the results of her attacks are keenly felt, particularly in one truly gruesome case of dick and ball trauma, which had the males in my audience crowing out in agonized sympathy.

See Also: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season Two is a Total Hell-Send

Porno is an absolute delight. If there’s any justice in the world, it will get distribution and won’t have to change that brilliant title in the process. This one is destined to be a midnight hit and I say that with complete confidence, as someone who watched it at midnight and managed to stay awake in spite of utter festival exhaustion. It’s genuinely great, consistently, laugh out loud funny, the cast is terrific, the SFX are brilliantly done, and Lillith gets another non-frumpy showcase outside of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Jump on this one if/when you can. Hopefully the dark lord will come through for us and make it available ASAP.

WICKED RATING: 8/10

Director(s): Keola Racela
Writer(s): Matt Black, Laurence Vannicelli
Stars: Evan Daves, Jillian Mueller, Katelyn Pearce, Robbie Tann, Glenn Stott
Release date: TBC
Studio/Production Company: Evoke
Language: English
Run Time: 98 minutes

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Written by Joey Keogh
Slasher fanatic Joey Keogh has been writing since she could hold a pen, and watching horror movies even longer. Aside from making a little home for herself at Wicked Horror, Joey also writes for Birth.Movies.Death, The List, and Vague Visages among others. Her actual home boasts Halloween decorations all year round. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
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