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Horror Comedy Porno is a Turn Off

Shudder Exclusive Porno is Uninspiring

The price of being a pervert is spuriously explored in the shocksploitation sex horror Porno. Telling the story of a group of Christian teens working at a movie theatre who come across a reel of NSFW film that transmogrifies into a real murderous demon, it wastes a wonderful idea with woeful execution. Aimed for the midnight movie crowd, this is more suited for three am when you can’t sleep and there’s literally nothing else on. 

The film is set in the 90s, back when exposure to pornography didn’t just mean a couple of clicks on Google. You had to find sex in a more analog way. For our heroes, this means hiding in a tree watching people have sex. This is directly contrasted with their time working at the cinema, which is run by a strict evangelical Christian named Mr Pike (Bill Phillips) who hosts prayer circles before every working shift. 

Shudder Exclusive Porno

Mr Pike seems to be a kind enough man, offering the kids the opportunity to pick whatever film they want after the lock up for the day. But when they come across a porn-film reel in the basement, debates rage out as to whether or not this is exactly what Mr Pike meant… nonetheless they end up watching the film, which unleashes a demonic and sexy presence that preys upon the desires of all the teenagers in the cinema. 

The film-within-the-film is the best thing in Porno, a piece of European-inspired arthouse featuring kaleidoscopic nudity, garish lighting schemes and bizarre rituals. If only the rest of Porno was told with as much attention to framing, lighting and detail. Instead we are treated to shoddy CGI, corny incidental music, and a cringe-worthy screenplay. 

Shudder Exclusive Porno

The demon is a reflection of its characters; making them consider their own sexuality and preying upon the nature of Christian repression. This is quite a fascinating theme and could be the source of a campy and exciting experience, but Porno seems so self-satisfied with its own construction that it doesn’t do the hard work to make the film a genuine success

Touching upon themes of teenage desire, LGBT identity, and what it means to live a pure life, the whole film is draped with such a deep desire to be a cult classic that it ends up eliciting pity instead of laughs. Forgetting some of the basic principles of horror, comedy, or even teenage drama, it bounces between these genres without locating the true emotion of any scene. Particularly mishandled is a coming-out scene, which foregoes sensitivity in favour of cheap and cruel jokes. Perhaps it’s meant to poke fun at ignorant Christian beliefs but just comes across as plain mean. 

I guess, entered into the right kind of mood, for example, under someone kind of intoxication, the gratuitous nudity, genital mutilation, and sexual titillation of Porno, could be a mildly entertaining experience. Stone-cold sober, and it’s hard to get turned on by this uninspiring film. 

Written By

As far back as he can remember, Redmond Bacon always wanted to be a film critic. To him, being a film critic was better than being President of the United States

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