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Porno Movie Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

Released by Evoke

Porno Poster Large

Directed by Keola Racela
Written by Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli
2019, 98 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest European Premiere on 23rd August 2019

Starring:
Evan Daves as Abe
Jillian Mueller as Chaz
Katelyn Pearce as Lilith
Bill Phillips as Mr. Pike
Peter Reznikoff as Lord Beekman

Review:

Iʼd like to begin by pointing out the genius of this title. Besides being very difficult to illegally download the correct movie (Google search: Porno movie?) it also means that the meta tags for any articles posted are going to bring some interesting attention. The idea that I have a file on my work computer labelled ‘Pornoʼ means it will always require an explanation when someone spots it. Word of mouth marketing at its most manipulative. But donʼt underestimate its ability to troll the hell out of you too by having an opening shot featuring two people loudly having sex.

This might work well in a cinema/theatre but when you are watching the movie at home and share a wall with your landlady it has you diving violently for the TV remote to frantically turn down the volume.

My Landlady: What are you doing in there!?

Me: sorry, itʼs just a movie

My Landlady: Oh yeah? Whatʼs it called?

Me: ...

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Itʼs 1992; Mr Pike (Bill Phillips), the manager of a small town cinema specialising in saving wayward youths, leaves his 5 teenage employees alone to close up and enjoy a movie of their choice. When the kids discover a secret room containing an unlabelled film reel they decide to put it on the projector, but quickly realise it isnʼt their typical movie. From the moment the first religious symbols flash up on screen, through to the unsubtle nude woman engaging in a ritualistic orgy of sex and blood, the watching teenagers are unable to turn away. However, by witnessing the movie they have unwittingly released something evil.

In case you think Iʼm referring to an internal sexual awakening let me be crystal clear: They literally release a demon.

Once the group find themselves locked in the building, they realise the only way theyʼll all survive is to fight the succubus wandering their halls. Porno is a hilarious coming-of-age style horror that perfectly captures the feel of classic teen adventure films like Goonies, The Monster Squad and Fright Night where, rather than enjoying the imaginative ways annoying characters are killed off, these deeply complex teenagers are highly likeable thus making the threat of death by succubus all the more tense.

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Laughs are scattered throughout thanks to a combination of dark, dry and perfect comedic timing, including a moment overlaid onto one of the most eyewatering gore scenes of all time. In hindsight, there are so many instances of male genital mutilation that it borders on being misandric (so much so, I even googled the word). Yet, for a movie that will probably be remembered most for its graphic mistreatment of the penis, Porno brings up quite a lot of interesting topics for discussion like Christian piety, addiction. homosexuality and, of course, exposure to pornography.

Violence and scares are kept to a minimum, instead relying heavily on the reactions and interactions of our heroes to derive enjoyment. Porno is deliberately set in a time before the internet enabled pornography to become easily accessible. The hormonally charged teenagers rely on random exploitation scenes in movies to get their kicks, but once confronted with a film that places genuinely forbidden imagery front and centre on the screen they are both repulsed and enthralled by the sexual imagery, questioning if this is what adults watch when they talk about porn.

All round Porno is a fantastic movie. The acting is humorous but deliberately awkward, similar in tone to films like Napoleon Dynamite and The Innkeepers. Through this style, characters like Heavy Metal Jeff (Robbie Tann), Pervert Ricky (Larry Saperstein) and makeup wearing jezebel Chaz (Jillian Mueller) can truly shine with brilliant dialogue and perfect delivery. Special effects are used sparingly, but when deployed are impactful to say the least.

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The only place that feels lacking is in the antagonist Lilith (Katelyn Pearce) who has a much less active presence in the story. While the Nightmare on Elm St movies are enjoyed for their charismatic villain next to generic teenagers, in Porno the stereotype is very much flipped on its head with deeply interesting teens running from a mundane demon that gets very few opportunities to be memorable. That said, there are more than enough movies that rely too heavily on the monster being the selling point while films like Bubba Ho-tep, Tucker and Dale vs Evil and the classic Abbott and Costello ‘vs moviesʼ created likeable characters first before throwing horror genre tropes at them.

Comparing it to such titles makes me hopeful for potential sequels wherein this rag-tag group of misfits go up against The Mummy, Frankenstein and Dracula. The only issue would be thereʼs already enough movies that crop up when you do a search for ‘Porno: Draculaʼ. Trust me, I checked. You know… for… research.

Grades:

Movie: Fourandahalfstars Porno Poster Small
Buy Amazon Uk

 

Keola Racela
About The Author
Author: Ilan Sheady
Staff Reviewer
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