*. While not the worst movie I’ve ever seen — not by a long shot! — this is nevertheless a total dog that was no fun at all. While I was watching it I kept thinking that it couldn’t end soon enough. So I don’t want to spend much time on it here.
*. When your biggest calling card is having Johnny Knoxville as a co-star I think you’re letting the audience know that the bar isn’t being set very high. You also know that when he does appear, as a televangelist preaching against the horrors of heavy metal music, something’s not right. No spoiler alerts for seeing through that false shepherd’s disguise! Or for guessing that the bad girls are really bad girls. If you were expecting twists, lose those expectations now.
*. The religious angle is heavy-handed and unoriginal. Christians are the real bad guys (“Beg for Christ’s forgiveness before I kill you!”). Knoxville’s Praise the Lord is really Pass the Loot. How exactly the Satanic killings played into all of this wasn’t totally clear to me, or remotely credible. But . . . that’s it for plot.
*. We’ve been here before. Just the year before there’d been the ironic invocation of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in The Strangers: Prey at Night and here it’s Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Because . . . I don’t know. It’s irony? These are the ’80s, you see. And we didn’t have irony back then.
*. Oh well. Shot in 16 days, and maybe written in that many hours. If you’re looking for retro heavy-metal mayhem I’d suggest Mandy, a more ambitious and original picture. I’m really not sure who the target audience was here. Johnny Knoxville fans who may be wondering what he’s been up to recently? No suspense, no scares, no good kills. A listless entry into what’s become a jaded genre.