American Satan - Directed by Ash Avildsen movie review

Ben Bruce and Andy Biersack suffer in sulphur

Cover art for American Satan - Directed by Ash Avildsen movie

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Featuring Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack and Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce, you might assume American Satan is a teenage girl’s fantasy. In fact, it’s more like a teenage boy’s wet dream. The first feature film from Ash Avildsen, founder of Sumerian Records, it follows a band called The Relentless who go to Hollywood with dreams of making it big. Their lives go awry when they meet a mysterious man (Malcolm McDowell), and end up in the hands of the Devil. It might sound like a standard rock’n’roll plot, but in reality, it’s batshit crazy.

First off, the Devil goads them into immolating a man who raped their female bassist, because it’s the only way to get famous and save lead singer Johnny Faust’s (Andy Biersack’s) mum from breast cancer. Still following? The female characters are offensively one-dimensional. Johnny’s mum (Denise Richards) floats around in a nightdress looking concerned. Bassist Lily Mayflower (Jesse Sullivan) has not only been raped, but conveniently works in a ‘bordello’ where the band can have sex. She’s bisexual, and sleeps with a teenage girl in an orgy, boosting the band’s notoriety. When the girl’s panicked mother turns up, the band’s manager (John Bradley) exclaims, “Somebody married that woman!” There’s also a scene where a mum takes her daughter on the bus to lose her virginity – Ash says he’s drawing on real-life events, but it’s super-bleak. Perhaps worst of all is Johnny’s girlfriend, Gretchen (Olivia Culpo), who has no backstory yet is held up as perfect, and forgives her man for cheating because he was “thinking of me the whole time”. Poor Andy and Ben (playing bandmate Leo Donovan) do their best with the terrible script, and the supporting cast are convincing. The soundtrack, featuring the likes of Deftones and Jonathan Davis, also sounds great. But sadly that’s not enough to redeem the movie. American Satan is entertaining, alright – but in the wrongest of ways.

Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.