“Porno”

2 STARS

Horror / comedy film “Porno” has one of the best premises in recent memory. The movie tells the story of a group of repressed, religious teen employees at a small town movie theater in the 1990s. One night, they discover a secret screening room hidden in the basement that’s filled with vintage X-rated exploitation films. Curious about one particularly intriguing reel, they spool it up and realize after watching the film, they’ve unintentionally unleashed a murderous sex demon (Katelyn Pearce) who attempts to seduce each of them and steal their souls.

The plot sounds hilarious, but the film isn’t. The few flashes of humor are uneven and overshadowed by the super gross and unnecessary gore (and some revolting scenes that by design will make guys squirm). The horror effects are low budget yet effective, but it feels as though director Keola Racela is trying too hard to shock his project into relevancy within the genre. It comes across as desperate and excessive, especially when the film derails in its final third.

It’s a shame because there are interesting themes at play, like repression and oppression in horror, and the way women are often punished for their sexuality in slasher films. Here, it’s the men who are targeted by the evil succubus, a mysterious woman who exposes their deepest sexual secrets and uses them as a power grab of exploitation and seduction. I wanted the film to have something more important and profound to say about these ideas.

Overall the film is just okay. The story is too slow and once you figure out where it’s going, it takes too long to get there. The characters are enjoyable, the imperfect acting is more charming than distracting, and the cast (Jillian Mueller, Robbie Tann, Larry Saperstein, Glenn Stott) keeps the film from entirely tanking. But there’s only so much they can do with the material.

I wanted to like “Porno” and I wanted it to be interesting. What a pity that it fails to get its message across, falling short of what it could have been.

By: Louisa Moore

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