Film Review: ‘Teen Lust’

Even Cary Elwes' scenery-chewing can't do much to help this minor mix of teen-sex comedy and horror-thriller.

With:
Jesse Carere, Daryl Sabara, Annie Clark, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Cary Elwes, Jon Dore, Emmanuelle Vaugier.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1718915/

A conspicuously uninspired mix of teen-sex comedy and horror-thriller tropes, “Teen Lust” may amuse Cary Elwes fans who yearn to see the cult-fave “Princess Bride” star give a performance that could be labeled Swift’s Premium and sold by the pound. Nothing else suggests a future for this Canadian-produced trifle beyond niche festivals and home-screen platforms.

The strained silliness revolves around Neil (Jesse Carere), a hormonally inflamed but hopelessly virginal high schooler whose innocence is highly regarded, and closely monitored, by his straight-laced parents (Emmanuelle Vaugier, Jon Dore). And with good reason: Mom and Dad are devout Satanists who have promised the leader (Elwes) of their cult that Neil can be offered as an undefiled human sacrifice — for the greater good of the Prince of Darkness — on the clueless youth’s 18th birthday.

Naturally, Neil rebels once he gets wind of what’s in store for him. And, just as naturally, he quickly figures that the best way to avoid being a virgin sacrifice is to, well, you know, not be a virgin. Aided and accompanied by Matt (Daryl Sabara), his less uptight but equally virginal buddy, Neil sets out on a long night’s journey toward deflowering, with stops along the way at a raucous party and a seedy whorehouse, while frantic Satanists follow in hot pursuit. After what seems like a very long time, he winds up recast as a sacrificial lamb, hoping against hope that Denise (Annie Clark), his heretofore platonic best friend, will save the day by, ahem, riding to his rescue.

Even among a throng of fellow players who have dialed it up to 11, Elwes manages to be a standout by sheer dint of his nonstop eye rolling, face pulling and scenery chewing. It’s difficult to imagine there was a day on the set when director and co-scripter Blaine Thurier had to say, “Cary, do you think you could be a little livelier?” Unfortunately, Elwes’ spirited overplaying does precious little to elevate the overall laugh quotient. Tech values are unremarkable.

Film Review: 'Teen Lust'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2014. Running time: 80 MIN.

Production: (Canada) An Entertainment One release of an Independent Edge Films production in association with Farpoint Films. (International sales: Arclight Films, Los Angeles; TAJJ Media, Toronto.) Produced by Kyle Mann. Executive producers, Kyle Bornais, Jeff Sackman, David Reckziegel, Anne-Claire Villeneuve, Scott Leary.

Crew: Directed by Blaine Thurier. Screenplay, Thurier, Jason Stone. Camera (color), James Liston; editor, Mark Shearer; music, Kathryn Calder; production designer, Gordon Wilding; sound, Kelly Cole; assistant director, Kevin Speckmaier; casting, Kerry Rock.

With: Jesse Carere, Daryl Sabara, Annie Clark, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Cary Elwes, Jon Dore, Emmanuelle Vaugier.

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