31 Days of Hell: Cinematic Releases: American Satan (2017) Reviewed

What are we willing to pay for world fame? Would a deal with the devil satiate our need for stardom, power and financial domination? In a time when violence and bloodshed taint our love for live music, Ash Avildsen comes along with a new genre piece that feels relevant and timely. 

This week's release of American Satan once again tries to answer those questions in the form of an extremely well made film about a rock band that signs a deal with the devil to acquire their wildest dreams. Starring the always awesome Malcolm McDowell and a cast of famous musicians mixed with some brand new fresh faces, this twisted rock and roll tale features an excellent soundtrack that's highlighted by believable on stage performances. 

Capturing many themes that have been consistent throughout decades of touring band movies, American Satan updates what we've seen before and plays a great hand that takes jabs at our current infatuation with instant media and over-glorified violence. Using the talents of McDowell and a steadied performance from the oft missing Denise Richards, audiences are treated to a project that blends the horrifying realism of the rock lifestyle with fantastical horror elements that bleed darkness into what could have been a cheesy thriller. 

Everybody shut the F@#$ up!
I'm doing my best Marilyn Manson right now!

Director Ash Avildsen takes a strong foothold over musicians that are trying their hand at acting. He succeeds in stunning fashion. Many times, non-actors can't pull it off. Black Veil Brides frontman Andy Biersack unequivocally knows how to act. As a freshman effort, he transposes his natural frontman status to the cinematic realm and it completely works. Ben Bruce, from Asking Alexandria, and Drake Bell also take their musical chops to the screen, which ends up giving us some of the most believable live performance footage ever captured on film. 

Featuring grade A modern costume design, a totally bombastic pop metal hybrid soundtrack that suits the nature of the project, tons of gothic sexiness, moments of purified drug haze, and a plot that teams perfectly with its subject matter, American Satan is one of those movies that you wish got a bigger push. Imagining that the movie most likely had a meager budget to work with, Avildsen renders a release that twists a classic motif about the conflict between creative passion and evil into a modernized fable that doesn't feel forced or cheesy. Unlike so many movies about stardom, this gives us characters we can root for and connect with. For musicians, this will be a nearly perfect watch. 

Honestly, this is one of the better movies I've seen in 2017 based on the simple fact that it tries something new as it challenges the audience to see the real message. Many horror films or thrillers just lay everything on the table. American Satan offers food for thought. What would we do in this situation? If the world were handed to us on a silver platter, would we sign a contract with a malevolent force?