Teen Lust Review: All Hail This Satanic Sex Party
Teen Lust is definitely a dubious title. It's not one you want to order on the company dime while on a business trip. Nor do you want it read back to you while Visa runs a credit fraud check. And it's probably not a title you want your spouse spotting during that end of the month bill pay. Perhaps that's why we haven't heard too much about it yet. People are afraid. The movie may be hampered by it's gleefully inappropriate nomenclature. But that saucy title barely scratches at the surface of what hides behind it.
Yes, lovers of 80s sex comedies are in for a real treat. And the movie certainly trumps the idea that Hollywood has run out of original ideas. We, as true movie fans, just have to dig a litter deeper. If Teen Lust had of been released in 1986, or even in 1996, untouched, we'd be celebrating its anniversary as a classic. In this era of big tentpole releases, superhero movies and fairy tale franchises, we have to turn over quite a few rocks to discover the next true cult favorite. And this has that written all over it in spades.
The movie is not a new release exactly, but it appeared on my Vudu account under recent horror comedies that might appeal to my undying love for the best film of 2015 (which you probably didn't see either) Deathgasm. The Teen Lust title, while it speaks to certain carnal urges, wasn't what drew my attention entirely to this gem of a movie. No, that title, coupled with the poster are what had my eyebrows raised. It features a lush teen girl unlocking her bra from behind, showing off her Satanic tattoo. Add fire, and the fact that Daryl Sabara is the second lead, and I ordered that sh*t right away. Listen, Scrunts: I was not disappointed!
While Spy Kids and its sequels were fun for the early Aughts, they were family films that fell slightly out of my peripheral at the time. It wasn't until Bobcat Goldthwait's modern day comedy masterpiece World's Greatest Dad that Sabara emerged as one of the most promising talents of these past two decades. Though he's been widely underused, flying in with a stealth appearance in Eli Roth's Green Inferno, a cameo in Disney's John Carter and not much else. Once again, he creates what is one of the best teen characters in recent cinema. Though, he's just one of the many great joys to discover in this swift hour and twenty minutes.
Praise must also goes to the lead, Jesse Carere, who plays the situation at hand with clever abandon and conviction. His Neil is a real prize in this tale of virginity loss, and he manages to turn everything we've seen before in the genre on its head. If you didn't think there was anywhere new to take the sex comedy, you are very sorely mistaken. And this movie plays like a challenge set out to director Blaine Thurier and his co-writer Jason Stone. The screenplay recalls all the great 80s movies on the subject, and even plays to the teen resurgence seen in the late 90s and early 2000s. In some ways, it's a sly callback to American Pie that deftly answers the question, 'Where do you go after f*cking pastries?'
Instead of sticking his dick in a pig heart, the movie puts a surprising and welcome twist on what we're suppose to expect in a movie of this nature. It might be best to stop reading right here and go in fresh. That's how I approached it. I knew nothing about Teen Lust as a movie before waltzing through its wanton ways. And I think that made the experience all the better. That said, here's the plot in a nutshell. Neil has to lose his virginity before sunrise. And he'll go to great lengths to make that happen. Neither a looming high school graduation, a bet amongst friends, nor trying to make the perfect prom date happen are at the core of this urgency. No. The kid's life literally depends on getting laid.
Enter: Cary Elwes! Yes, he is chewing the sh*t out of the scenery as a hunched back Satanic Cult leader with a slight lisp, and drooling bottom lip. But it's a majestic, jaw-dropping performance that will leave you in absolute awe. It's so far off the wall, it's shot down the road and rests to linger in a whole new house. As far as 'WTF is Gary Elwes doing?' performances go, it's right up there with his cameo in the OogieLoves movie as dancing cowboy Bobby Wobbly...And trust me, if you haven't seen it yet, his scene in that kiddie exploitation flick is a great flying f*ck of a thing. Nicolas Cage has got nothing on the wackadoo performances oozing out of Elwes at this stage in his career. Even though Cage tries real hard to win our hearts back with his eccentric, but lovable turn in the recent heist thriller Trust, which I can't recommend high enough. It doesn't hold a candle to this.
As a Satanic Cult Leader, Sheldon isn't a very threatening name. A hieghtened parody of real-life Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves, this dude is very dangerous (at least in his own mind). And he's had it out for Neil since the kid was born. The baby was prophesied to bring the dark times. He is the harbinger of the apocalypse. And thus, he must be sacrificed at the age of 18 to make the great Baphomet rise again. Neil's parents have kept him a virgin for the past two decades. Which hasn't been hard, since he's not exactly a lady's man, preferring magic card tricks to sports.
The boy and his best friend Matt (Sabara) attend their Satanic church every week with his parents, as if it were as normal as attending any other church. Then the big sacrifice night comes. And Neil gladly lays himself out on the alter. He has no clue what's about to happen. Not until Sheldon pulls out the large devil blade does our hero realizes he's doomed to enter the gates of Hell. But it's actually Matty who saves the day, rescuing his friend, running him out of the room. Neil seemed so into the sacrifice at first that the other church patrons are understandably taken by surprise when he shoots off the table and bolts. Leading up to this moment, Neil has been down for his 'special moment' and ultimate sacrifice. But now he's running for his life with new perspective on his entire childhood. He was born and raised to be fodder for the devil. But that all stops tonight!
It doesn't take Neil and Matt long to realize what must happen. Neil needs to lose his virginity before sunrise, or the world will be plunged into eternal darkness. Thus, our two reluctant pals set out on an all night quest for some good ol' American Pie. All the while, Sheldon's minions are canvasing the town to bring the kid back in for his ultimate good-bye. I won't spoil what happens next, but good god is it a lot of fun.
Sure, there are plenty of cliches that bubble to the surface, exposing some prerequisites of the genre. The first person Neil attempts to bang is his platonic female friend who, typically, doesn't believe dangerous and deadly satanic sagamores are hot on his trailer. This sets up a rudimentary subplot about high school best friends who realize they're destined for each other. But the director knows the conventions and generic machinations that follow along with this ruse. Canadian actress Annie Clark comes on like a young fresh Milla Jovovich. And could easily play Alice's long lost little sis in the Resident Evil franchise. While her Denise is set up as a damsel in distress, she gets to come into her own as a character, and there's even a nice little side slide of a plot point about her (and everyone else's) crush on one of Satan's henchman. If Neil wasn't in the picture, she'd definitely be hooking up with this guy, and we see this play out from the girl's point of view. She even later uses the guy's dimwitted take on the situation to advance her stance in the way things have to play out, which is refreshing.
The night holds many surprises in store for Neil, Matty and Denise, with the movie slipping along at a breakneck speed. With just enough Elwes sprinkled in to make this a slightly tangy, yet seriously delicious dish. It all comes to a head with the ultimate friend sacrifice that is, at it's core, sweet, not homophobic. Though there is a goat thrown in for tension and thrills in these final moments that gives Black Philip a run for his money.
The movie ends on a happy note that will have you singing along as our heroes sail off into the sunset. Teen Lust arrives with a real Once Bitten vibe, calling back certain aspects of that Jim Carrey horror comedy. But Teen Lust goes above and beyond the call of duty. It's not just some throw away direct-to-video waste of time. It's a love letter to 80s teen sex and horror comedies that is a solid neo-classic in the genre. If you're looking for something new and awesome to watch, I implore you, order up eOne's Teen Lust today on whatever streaming device you utilize on a daily basis. Just make sure who ever reads back receipts at the end of the month is in on the joke.