Satan's Playground

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

24%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 184
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Movie Info

Writer/director Dante Tomaselli's horror picture Satan's Playground (2005) -- the filmmaker's third feature outing -- subverts horror expectations and genre clichés by deliberately suspending point-by-point logical threads, carefully steering around gore, and enlisting an acting ensemble not of teenagers, but of actors who are predominantly well into middle age. The picture involves the Bruno family -- siblings Donna (Felissa Rose) and Paula (Ellen Sandweiss), Donna's hubby, Frank (Salvatore Paul Piro), and autistic son, Sean (Danny Lopes), and newly single Paula's baby, Anthony -- who are en route to a vacation in the New Jersey Pine Barrens when their car gets stuck in the middle of nowhere. In an effort to solicit help, they inadvertently fall prey to a clan of white-trash, backwoods psychotics, while several are picked off, one at a time, by a strange, unknown predator from out of the night sky. Cast with veterans of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead movies, Tomaselli pays loving tribute to slasher movies of cinema past.

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Critic Reviews for Satan's Playground

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Satan's Playground

  • Jun 21, 2009
    <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/satans-playground-12275121"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/12/27/51/12275121_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div> <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/satans-playground-12275123"><img src="http://content9.flixster.com/photo/12/27/51/12275123_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div> <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/satans-playground-12275120"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/27/51/12275120_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"><I>Satan's Playground</I></a> </div></div> SATAN'S PLAYGROUND (2006) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Dante Tomaselli. FEATURING: Felissa Rose, Ellen Sandweiss, Edwin Neal, Irma St. Paule, Danny Lopes, Christie Sanford GENRE: HORROR PLOT: A family car breakdown in the New Jersey Pine Barrens leads to an unpleasant encounter with madness, murder, satanists and a carnivorous flying mutant. Well produced and better than it sounds. COMMENTS: Taking its cue from folktales about mysterious boogeymen haunting the lonely outback of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Satan's Playground is filmed on location and makes good use of the claustrophobic, isolated eeriness of the heavily coniferred locale. When the Brunos' family station wagon gets stuck in the God-forsaken absolute middle of nowhere, they foolishly venture out one by one in search of help. All trails go in circles and inevitably lead them to a mysterious, dilapidated old Inn run by a madwoman (St. Paule). Their steady procession to her front door turns out to be a smörgåsbord for her and her deranged family of sadistic, deranged oddballs. Asking to use the phone, the Brunos each in turn discover that in addition to the physical disarray of the home and mental disarray of its occupants, a band of Satanists are in the habit of using the grounds for ceremonial sacrifices -but that is just the beginning of the Brunos' tribulations. Ritual torture and murder are the on the guest services itinerary. Quicksand, double crosses and a mysterious flying presence add to the downward spiral of doom in which they find themselves mired. Satan's Playground offers a simplistic, straightforward plot, another variation of the old Texas Chainsaw Massacre/tourists with an auto breakdown theme, but this movie is more entertaining and offbeat. There are numerous villains and strange goings on in the story, but none of it is over the top. The prevailing essence of the story is the way it produces a tension of steadily mounting dread. Satan's Playground is a small budget independent that is worth taking a look at as an entry in the non-mainstream horror genre. It's nothing profound, but it's creepy and well-made. The producers did a remarkably good job with a modest investment. The actors are not familiar Hollywood faces, but they perform as well as any big Tinseltown stars. Best of all, in the tradition of unusual, offbeat 1970's horror films, Satan's Playground features the sort of original scenes, shots, and camera angles that would leave a certain lasting impression if you were to see it as a youngster. The look and feel of the film is a result of the filmmakers employing the kinds of methods and shot composition that best convey the story, rather than those which adhere to a trite formula Better than any grade B horror flick I've seen in quite sometime, I heartily recommend it for viewers who like satanists, supernatural slashers, and horror that is a touch larger than life within a horror context without being insultingly silly or campy. <div style="width:120px;font-size:10px;text-align:center;"></div><a href="http://www.flixster.com/videos?videoId=11062388"><img src="http://i4.ytimg.com/vi/_1TtgiyIXv8/default.jpg" border="0" /></a><div style="font-size:10px;width:120px;text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"><I>Satan's Playground</I></a> - trailer</div>
    Pamela D Super Reviewer

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