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Two couples on their way to Coachella decide to take a detour to Los Angeles in order to visit some true crime scenes with satanic connections. After a run-in with a particularly obnoxious owner of a shop dedicated to the occult, they follow him to a remote house, and save a young woman apparently about to be sacrificed. However, the victim turns out to be much more than she seems, and soon draws the others into a satanic cult ritual with unrelenting consequences...
There’s a certain inevitability about the premise of this film. But let’s begin with the characters. We have two couples: a goth girl fascinated by the black arts, her party animal boyfriend who will go along with anything for a bit of a lark, and a practical and sensible bloke accompanied by his even more sensible girlfriend, who follows along with her goth friend’s plans just to make her happy. So, essentially a bad couple and a good couple. The former is characterised by the constant stream of expletives emitted, seemingly simply to prove ‘badness’. This trait is compounded by the so-called Satanists themselves who spit, threaten and swear as if it is as mundane and normal as talking about the weather.
Now let’s talk about realism, or the lack thereof. The main quartet of key players don’t act or react like normal people would in a given situation, and they certainly don’t stick to character, but rather change as the plot demands. This cannot be described as evolving, simply changing back and forth. Mr Nice Guy justifiably moans at all the murder or black mass locations he is obliged to visit, but then positively votes to follow a suspected violent Satanist to a secluded house. There the gang wave a torch about when it’s not all that dark, and chatter like excited monkeys before spying so openly on what appears to be a black mass that anyone would have to be completely devoid of senses not to notice them immediately.
After suffering a scare and barely escaping, most people would put as much distance as possible between them and the situation. But instead they get further sucked into the mess, and it’s from this point that the inevitability of the ultimate conclusion takes over the film. I was also disappointed that the suggested time loop wasn’t either explained or played-out. The familiar figure at the window scenario has been utilised so many times now that I instantly recognised it for what it was.
This is not necessarily a derisory attempt at filmmaking, it’s just not been properly thought through in the planning stages. Therefore, we have clichés, lack of character continuity, and no attempt at scripting an imaginative outcome. After all, every story is an attempt at triumph over adversity, even if it doesn’t ultimately succeed. This just… happens. So what we finish up with is an average horror film rather than a bad one.