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Review: Porno (2020)

Keola Racela’s Porno takes place in a more innocent pre-internet/streaming time when A League of their Own and Encino Man were riding high at the cinema and the cinema was still a building full of excitement and anticipation – be it for the next big blockbuster or for the evil horror film that would corrupt your morals!

At this particular cinema we have a bunch of born-again Christian working. Following their shift they get to close the cinema and have their own showing. After a few strange occurrences the repressed teens and the projectionist (Evan Daves, Jillian Mueller, Larry Saperstein, Glenn Scott, and Robbie Tann) discover a secret room filled with vintage exploitation films. They sit and watch one that turns out to be a bizarre horror occult movie that could be either a weird porno or some kind of hypnotic witching.

Soon the film starts to corrupt them and their beliefs in different ways! Including the woman from the film appearing in front of them! It turns out playing the old films unleashed a demon who is now attempting to seduce each of them and steal their soul!

The cinematography of Porno is top notch I especially loved the work put into the “old film” they discovered. This is definitely a bizarre “love letter” to being excited about going to the cinema before the internet ruined everything! It also stands as a convincing metaphor for the power cinema (once) had in our lives. The atmosphere presented here as well as the soundtrack more than add depth to this “love letter.”

Character wise interpersonal dynamics are explored in various ways as the adventure unfolds, and done so with humour, fear, religion and self-loathing – all which make these teens seem a lot more real than teens often presented in this genre. Also, like cinema itself, the name Porno is hyperbole with not that much rude material to be be had. There definitely are some moments but not as many as you would expect.

Verdict: 7/10. An enjoyable movie that explores the powers the cinema held over people. Is it witchcraft? Is it corruption? Is it immoral? Or were we just like that anyway?

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