REVIEW: ‘Porno’ Puts Gore and Lore on Full Display

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Porno

There is a lot that goes into a name, and Shudder Exclusive Porno has one that automatically grabs your attention. Directed by Keola Racela and co-written by Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli Porno is in fact about a porno, but more importantly the demon it releases. In it, five repressed teen employees at a local movie theatre in a small Christian town discover a mysterious old film hidden in its basement.

The allure of watching something sexy is too much to ignore and the employees use their one movie a week after the theater closes to watch it. But, this movie isn’t just a porno, nope. It’s actually the home to a demon and by playing it they unleash it on the world. Like any repressed teen who has been told to bottle up any and all sexual thoughts and taught abstinence instead of the realities of physical intimacy, they’re ripe for the picking when the demon begins to use that repressed energy for its own gain.

Porno stars Robbie Tann, Katelyn Pearce, Evan Daves, Larry Saperstein (High School Musical: The Musical), Jillian Mueller (The Last O.G.), Glen Stott (The Good Fight), and each of these actors bring charisma and connection to their roles. The film deals in dark humor and immense gore (including mutilation of a certain appendage) to tell its story and this works. But the success of the humor and gore lies in the way the film uses religion as a vehicle to explain the fear that simmers beneath the surface of each teen. Yes, they’re scared of the demon after seeing its ability to murder, but they’re also all individually scared of people finding out about their repressed sexualities and fantasies.

While the film is absurd in a way that keeps you laughing, the film also confronts the hypocrisy and abusive system that religion can force people in to, especially as they develop in their teenage years. As much as the film is about the teens fighting off a demon, it’s also about them finding themselves and ultimately learning a way to accept each other. Truthfully, Porno does an interesting job of showing that sex really isn’t the end of the world – even when it kind of is.

Porno

Another stand out in the film is the setting. Taking place in one theater over the course of one night, every element from the projector to the concession stand and the seats are used, giving Porno a setting that serves as a character in and of itself. The tight space is expertly used and works to build tension and humor when the script calls for it. When you couple the already claustrophobic scenery with an emotional use of colors like green and red, Porno brings a unique atmosphere that ebbs and flows with its horror and comedy elements.

Finally, Porno is just a fun watch with some larger critiques of religion thrown in, a sex demon, and some mutilation thrown in. But what it does extremely well is packing in lore around the demon that is released,  and does so in a way that we learn the rules of the demon as the teens do without feeling like forced exposition. In fact, the amount of lore-work the filmmakers are able to pack into the film is surprising and helps define Porno‘s overall theme and focus.

Overall, Porno is hilarious, bloody, and actually pretty thoughtful. Shudder keeps picking up unique films that help broaden horror as a genre, and this film is no different.

Porno is available to stream exclusively on Shudder.

Porno
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall, Porno is hilarious, bloody, and actually pretty thoughtful. Shudder keeps picking up unique films that help broaden horror as a genre, and this film is no different.