Review: HAIL SATAN? Is A Hilarious And Unexpected Documentary

FIRST IMPRESSION

Pushing buttons in all the right ways, Hail Satan? is sure to be one of the most enjoyable political documentaries you see all year.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Hail Satan? is a new documentary film directed by Penny Lane. It takes a look at The Satanic Temple, a controversial and quickly growing religious group, as they set out on a quest to encourage and protect First Amendment Rights. It has played at festivals including the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and the 2019 Florida Film Festival.

This movie’s story is definitely very interesting in an unexpected way. Most people will go in expecting this film to be an exploration of Satanism, but it’s not. Instead, the movie is more of a political documentary about a group of people who are trying to achieve a political agenda through unorthodox means. Constitutional rights are and have always been a significant point of debate in our country, and this film offers a unique perspective on the issue.

Unfortunately, this movie may be prevented from reaching wider audiences because of these incorrect preconceived notions. In all honesty, this film isn’t made for a highly conservative audience. Some of the political views expressed in the movie are pretty liberal and there is some content that may anger the most conservative of viewers. However, audiences need not fear having their religion insulted — that is not the point of the film.

A significant part of why this movie works is that it is so entertaining to watch. You will be laughing out loud throughout the whole film. A majority of the TST members featured in the movie have a good sense of humor about what they are doing, so it is fun to watch them reply with a wisecrack when they are faced with opposition. Additionally, there are some parts of the story that will take you by surprise to the point you can’t help but laugh.

Supporters of TST at the rally for religious liberty in Little Rock, AR, August 2018 in HAIL SATAN?, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The film does a very good job of developing the subjects of the movie into well-rounded individuals. There are a lot of people interviewed in the film, but the main ones, particularly Lucien Greaves, are quite interesting. One of this movie’s foremost successes is debunking the myths associated with Satanists. Although there are a few people who fit the stereotype you might typically associate with Satanism, most of the interviewees appear to be reasonable and educated people.

If anything is wrong with the film, it is that it moves along at too quick of a pace. The runtime is just over an hour and a half, so the movie had enough room to spare that it could have explored some of the events in more depth. The world which this film is exploring is fascinating, so it would have been interesting to see even more. That being said, the movie in its current state is still extremely entertaining and rather informative.

On a technical level, the film was very good. The movie is told through a combination of fly-on-the-wall footage recorded of the TST in action and interviews with prominent players in the story. The interviews are well-shot but framed simply in a way that is mostly effective but not breathtaking. The most impressive part of the film’s execution is its use of music, which is often used to juxtapose the images onscreen. One of the best parts of the movie utilizes Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”.

Overall, Hail Satan? is a funny and well-made documentary. It will almost certainly rub some people the wrong way, but for those who are willing to go in with an open mind, this is sure to be one of the most pleasing cinematic experiences you will have all year.

Hail Satan? is now playing in select theaters.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Between The World And Me: The Craft – Executive Producer, Roger Ross Williams | HBO

"What Between The World And Me does is really humanize our experiences..." Executive Producer Roger Ross Williams discusses what brought him to this project and the impact he hopes it has on the world. #HBO #BetweenTheWorldAndMe Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 First published in 2015, Between the World and Me was written as a…

Star Trek: Discovery | Catching Up On Admiral Spock’s Legacy (S3, E7)

"Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is shocked and amazed to learn her brother Spock was responsible for a significant revolution on their homeworld of Vulcan. Stream all-new episodes of Star Trek: Discovery on Thursdays, exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. WATCH MORE: https://bit.ly/2H76sUY Subscribe To The CBS All Access Channel HERE: https://bit.ly/3dqmoOm For more…

Outlander | Rapidfire Questions with John Bell | STARZ

Our favorite elegant crane: John Bell. Catch up on all seasons of Outlander any time on the STARZ App. #Outlander #STARZ Watch Outlander now on the STARZ App: https://starz.tv/32s4aGT Subscribe now for more Outlander content: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Like Outlander on Facebook:http://starz.tv/OutlanderFacebookYT Follow Outlander on Twitter: http://bit.ly/OutlanderTwitterYT Follow Outlander on Instagram: http://starz.tv/OutlanderInstagramYT Outlander is internationally distributed by…

The Crown Season 4 | Playing Diana | Netflix

Emma Corrin describes her experiences playing the iconic figure of Princess Diana, with contributions from the cast and crew of The Crown Season Four. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 195 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a…

Batwoman | Time Is Running Out Promo | The CW

Stream Batwoman free only on The CW: https://go.cwtv.com/BATgenyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About BATWOMAN: In a city desperate for a savior, Batwoman must first overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope. Connect with BATWOMAN online: Like BATWOMAN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CWBatwoman Follow BATWOMAN on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CWBatwoman Follow BATWOMAN on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cwbatwoman/…

AXIOS on HBO: Representative Tony Càrdenas on Party Criticism (Clip) | HBO

Democratic Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) responds to criticism of the Democratic Party. #HBO #AxiosOnHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Known for delivering news, coverage, and insight with a distinctive brand of smart brevity, Axios on HBO helps viewers better understand the big trends reshaping America and the world through exclusive interviews, profiles, and breaking…

His Dark Materials: In The Weeks Ahead (Season 2) | HBO

See what awaits in the weeks ahead. #NewWorldsAwait #HBO #HisDarkMaterials Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 His Dark Materials stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here