Rock and roll is where God and the Devil shake hands.
Ash Avildsen‘s American Satan is everything you could want from a rock and roll horror movie and then some. A stellar cast with a soundtrack that you’ll be listening to for days (weeks!) after, if you have any kind of love for this particular music genre, you will be more than satisfied with this movie.
We’ve all heard the story about rock and roll going hand in hand with The Devil; how rock stars sell their soul for all the fame, fortune and glory, not realizing the consequences that come with that territory until it’s too late. This is that story brought to the big screen.
Malcolm McDowell does what he does best as an evil instigator while Mark Boone Junior (who will always be Bobby to me) is totally believable as a record label executive. Throw in BooBoo Stewart, Denise Richards, Drake Bell, plus two of the current hottest musicians in the alternative music scene, Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides/Andy Black) & Ben Bruce (Asking Alexandria) and you’ve got an hour & fifty minutes of both eye AND ear candy.
One of the reasons this movie works so well is the chemistry between the cast members. From the excitement of their arrival in LA to their first jam session as a band, each character is relatable, real and overall likeable. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor from Game of Thrones’ John Bradley-West as Ricky, the inexperienced tour manager and the bad-ass sexiness from Jesse Sullivan as Lily, the hot female bass player. The living out of a van scenario while waiting for that one gig to set your world ablaze is well played out, even if the flame igniting is taken a bit literal. ???? The movie interweaves unique backstories of some of the most well known rock and roll bands along with rock star quotes and visuals of the legendary venues on the Sunset Strip while being accompanied by an outstanding score by none other than KoRn frontman, Jonathan Davis.
While Biersack is the star of the movie as protagonist, Johnny Faust, the vocals behind his character’s band ‘The Relentless’ are by Palaye Royale‘s Remmington Leith and to say it was a smart choice is an understatement. (Don’t get me wrong, I can get down with Black Veil Brides all day long.) Leith’s gritty voice is a beyond perfect fit for the rock & roll homage to 80s LA glam rock while still remaining current and fresh. Plus, it allows for the focus to be off of “Andy from BVB” and more on Biersack’s acting, which was truly fun to watch. He was able to convey the emotions of a tortured soul simply through his facial expressions, which is a tough feat for many actors but Biersack made it look easy. (No comment on his psychical appearance… it goes without saying that even the chairs in the theater were sweating). Watching the downward spiral that includes substance abuse, a road that so many musicians have traveled upon, you’ll find yourself rooting for Johnny and hoping that he can pull himself out of the darkness before he disappears into the void forever. Does he succumb to the dark side or will he find his way back to the light? (No spoilers here.)
The magic of rock and roll combined with dark temptations is a high like no other and American Satan goes there. It takes you past the velvet rope, behind the curtain and the locked doors to expose the beautifully sinful dark side of the rock & roll industry. It proves that you should, indeed: be careful what you wish for.