Published Aug 13, 2015Since all of his fellow members of the New Pornographers have their own separate projects to occupy their time, it's hardly surprising that Blaine Thurier continues to pursue his own alternate career directing films. In fact, the blend of teenage sex and satanic horror on display in his newest effort, Teen Lust, even seems like an ideal outlet for his rock 'n' roll ethos. Perhaps that expectation is why the underwhelming comedy is ultimately so disappointing.
Neil (Jesse Carere) and his best friend (Spy Kids' Daryl Sabara, all grown up) appear to be ordinary teenagers with a healthy interest in sex. That is, except for the fact that they and their parents participate in regular satanic rituals led by the creepy John (Cary Elwes). Because Neil has not yet had sex and the church seeks an 18-year-old virgin to sacrifice, all attention is on Neil as his 18th birthday approaches.
When Neil finally realizes the severity of the situation as he's about to have a knife pierce through his skin, he and his buddy flee the congregation. They set their sights on getting Neil laid immediately, by whatever means necessary. This means a trip to a rowdy house party, another to a house of prostitution and Neil making an earnest plea to his close friend, Denise (Annie Clark). All the while, the pair is trying to evade the various minions of the cult that seem to lurk around every corner.
If all this sounds like the makings of an enjoyable dark comedy, then what's the problem? It just isn't really all that funny. The central dynamic between the two friends aims for something out of Superbad or any number of other Apatow productions, but though the two actors have natural enough chemistry, they're stuck with a script that has few memorable comic set pieces and raunchy dialogue that only elicits the occasional chuckle, rather than any big laughs.
It's not all bad. Elwes has a lot of fun gnashing his grotesque teeth as the villainous satanic leader and comedian Jon Dore injects some life as Neil's caring but severely misguided father. Also, there's a scene near the end where the two friends hatch a unique solution to their problem that hints at the kind of deranged humour the film would have been well-advised to explore more with this kind of dark material.
Though this may be a misfire, it does point to the type of marketable films this country should spend more of their limited resources producing.