Heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll have long associations with the devil, cults, worship and all that go along with it. American Satan brings it front and centre.
A metal band is formed over the internet by two British lads; Leo Donovan, Ben Bruce (from the band Asking Alexandria), who plays guitar and Ricky Rollins, John Bradley (Game Of Thrones (TV), Traders), who acts as the manager and two Americans: Johnny Faust, Andy Biersack (singer in Black Veil Brides) is the lead singer, and Vic Lakota, Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga, X-Men: Days Of Future Past) on guitar.
The Brits also bring a drummer, Dylan James, Sebastian Gregory (Neighbours (TV), A Heartbeat Away) and whilst they’re all in the US they meet a bassist, Lily Mayflower, Jesse Sullivan (Enigma Of Being Awake, Fuckkkyouuu (Short)). They name the band The Relentless.
The band get lucky on a trip to Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Boulevard when they discover that a band has cancelled and there’s a spot in eight weeks-time. All they have to do is sell tickets to the gig, the more tickets they sell, the more money they’ll make.
It’s on this, and a previous occasion, when the band run into Mr. Capricorn, Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations), who keeps acting all weird and turning up dressed as different people. It’s not until the third meet, when he turns up in a Bentley, that Ricky finally realises who he is, the devil.
They cut a deal with him, partly prompted by Johnny’s mom’s, Denise Richards (Starship Troopers, The World Is Not Enough), sudden cancer diagnosis and partly as they’re running out of cash, and sign with the biggest record label in town run by Mark Boone Junior (Sons Of Anarchy (TV), Batman Begins).
They’re popularity booms, but it comes at a cost as Mr. Capricorn demands payment for their success and it’s not money he’s after, the band must go through metaphorical hell for the price of fame.
At the time of writing American Satan is the number one indie film on iTunes in the UK and is the brainchild of Ash Avildsen (Mr. Doctor Man (Short), What Now) who directs and co-wrote along with Matty Beckerman.
The movie is long, at nearly two-hours, and can feel a little stretched at times, but it’s good fun and has a great soundtrack, providing you like that sort of music obviously.
Despite Biersack being in band, the vocals for The Relentless where actually done by Remington Leith, lead singer of Palaye Royale. This is painfully clear on a number of occasions when, due to either bad editing or Biersack’s inability to lip-sync or maybe both, it’s quite obvious he’s not doing the singing.
The film is listed on IMDB as a drama, thriller which surprised me as I thought it was meant to be a comedy. The first third of the film certainly had me laughing, perhaps I wasn’t meant to?
As the film reaches the half-way point though, things do get more serious and the laughs thin out noticeably. The trouble is, it’s at this point that things begin to drag a little and it seems to become a little unsure in what it’s trying to be, or say.
Despite me sounding like I didn’t like American Satan I actually really did. I didn’t expect to, but I did. It’s good fun, it’s a laugh, at times, has a good soundtrack and is well directed.
However, I guess I’m just wondering what it could have been; with a little editing here, a little more focus there and some raised performances, American Satan could have been so much better.