BHFF REVIEW: ‘Porno’ Presents Seductive Premise with a Lacklustre Climax

“Even if the film’s formulaic plot may give viewers blue-balls, the film has a level of character that’s admirable”


The horrifying reality of teen hormones and sexual desire is the impending threat in this raunchy 90’s-based comedy-horror. Think American Pie, but with a murderous sex demon.

A group of young, Christian cinema employees are granted an after-work private film night on the big screen by their boss. While debating which film to watch, they are interrupted by a seemingly drunk old man (Peter Reznikoff), mumbling incoherently and running around the building. The man bursts through a blocked door which leads the group of teens to discover a hidden basement filled with old, creepy film rolls. One roll piques their interests and they watch it, only to discover it’s an old satanic porno. The film reel unleashes a sex demon, which terrorises the group by trying to seduce them to their deaths. The group of hormone-fuelled teens must resist their primal desires and remain true to their religious, chastised beliefs. Along with their efforts to follow their moral codes, these teens are also struggling with their own shameful secrets – those of unrequited love, betrayal, sexuality, and lies.

Our main leads are Todd (Larry Saperstein) and Abe (Evan Daves), who we’re first introduced to while peeking on a couple having sex; they’re not exactly the epitome of moral excellency, despite their employment at a very Christian cinema. The other young employees at the cinema include an unfortunately under-written Chaz (Jillian Mueller) and her equally dull crush Ricky (Glenn Stott). Leading the cinema and the prayer circles is self-righteous and cretinous manager Mr Pike (Bill Phillips). By far the most entertaining of this bunch is the passionate projectionist dubbed “Heavy Metal” Jeff (Robbie Tann), who’s wild outbursts and dedication to his craft make for some funny content.

The demon, credited as Lilith and played by Katelyn Pearce, is an entertaining force. In true femme fatale fashion, she is seductive and deadly, prowling the halls of this cinema for her weak-willed victims. The damage she inflicts is especially delightful in a macabre, dark humour fashion. Inciting a bloodbath of chest bursting demons and exploding testicles, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Porno is writers Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli’s first feature length script and unfortunately it does show. The story pacing feels staggered, with the weaving of separate plot-points being rather loose. Characters also suffer from either being under-written or contradictory, with some character actions seeming more suited for another in the cast. Despite fairly generic horror story patterns (spooky basement + possessed object = demon), it seems more like a purposeful homage to classic demon horror rather than a lazy script. Porno is also director Keola Racela’s first feature credit, and again there are some issues with the flow of the overall film, however it’s clear they have good timing for comedy, even if some actor’s clunky delivery occasionally botches the jokes. Of course, the most important component for horror director’s is their eye for gore and thankfully Racela’s sight is 20:20.

The film’s general plot explores moral hypocrisy as well as religion’s use for cruel judgement. It’s ironic the strict religious teachings of Mr Pike create morally bankrupt individuals, whereas the unleashing of satanic demons is what finally pushes them all to face their own demons and right their wrongs. The unleashing of repressed desire is what leads to salvation and is the ultimate message of this film.

Even if the film’s formulaic plot may give viewers blue-balls, the film has a level of character that’s admirable and amusing. Though some may not be so easily seduced by this film, others will likely be charmed by its borderline schlocky nature and enjoy the silly teen humour. It’s certainly a film that groups can enjoy together and will bring back fond (or unpleasant) memories for anyone who’s worked in a cinema theatre.


Dir:  Keola Racela

Prod: Evoke

Cast: Larry Saperstein, Evan Daves, Robbie Tann, Jillian Mueller, Glenn Stott, Katelyn Pearce, Bill Phillips, Peter Reznikoff