by Hope Madden
Have you seen Lamberto Bava’s 1985 horror Demons?
I can’t help but wonder if writers Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli have. It’s a low rent affair that suckers a group of moviegoers into watching a violent horror flick that unleashes—you guessed it—demons.
More than three decades later, Vannicelli and Black pen a more good natured horror that traps five Christian teens in the small town cinema where they work circa 1992. After closing they chase a homeless intruder into an unknown basement, find additional theaters, movie posters for Orgy of the Dead and other unsavory features, and a canister.
Here’s where things get a little familiar. The teens decide to screen the film from the basement canister. But it’s not exactly a grisly horror film, like Bava’s. For these sexually repressed teens, it’s worse.
Hell for sure.
Black and Vannicelli give director Keola Racela plenty to work with, whether touching the funny bone or the gag reflex. Porno is strangely upbeat and even sweet for a film whose villain (Katelyn Pearce) doesn’t deliver a single line or wear any clothes the entire running time (unless you count her merkin).
And it’s gross. You don’t even want to know what happens to Heavy Metal Jeff’s nut sack.
Four of the five teens are afraid they’re pervs in one way or another and are therefore headed to hell. (Not Jeff. Jeff’s keeping his edge.) Racela and cast have fun with this idea, thanks in large part to charming performances.
Porno nails the time period and the mood, delivering some carnage-laden laughs pointed at both the uptight and the nasty. But Racela gets a little lost in the storytelling. Porno would benefit from a serious edit. It runs a mere 90 minutes but feels much longer, likely because storylines spin out all over the building with little thought to pacing or tension.
Between the sloppy structure and some sophomoric comedy, even the brightest and wildest moments can be overlooked. (Well, not that thing with Jeff.) The weaknesses pile up and by the end, Porno feels like a near miss.