COURTNEY GETS POSSESSED – Review
As the odd little horror comedy COURTNEY GETS POSSESSED opens, we meet Courtney (Lauren Buglioli) sitting alone and bored at someone else’s wedding when a jaunty fellow named Dave (Jonathon Pawloski) approaches her and arouses some interest in the lass. Fast-forward five years, and Courtney is now the bride about to marry Glen (Zae Jordan) while coping with her lifelong nemesis of a sister, Caitlin (Madison Hatfield). The latter has always resented her more popular sibling and done all she could to mess with her, from swiping jewelry to boinking her boyfriends. At the bachelorette party, Dave turns up at her door. Courtney tries to keep him out, but Caitlin – if only to annoy her sister – invites him in. The group soon learns that Dave is actually Satan, that Courtney naively had a fling with him several years earlier, and now he wants her back, body and/or soul.
The rest of the film is one long night of Courtney and her friends trying to purge Dave from their midst, and periodically from their possessed bodies. None are skilled at this, and not all share the same goal. Mayhem ensues, including several casualties along the way. The result is a mix of THE EXORCIST (even using background music similar enough to trigger the association but different enough to avoid owing royalties), BRIDESMAIDS and the legion of witchcraft and demonic comedies – especially those with Faustian underpinnings.
The early going seems more silly than engaging, as squabbles among the humans grow rather annoying. But a couple of twists in the latter half turn that around, resulting in a fairly satisfying offbeat comedy. For a low-budget production, the cast is surprisingly good. Dave and the two sisters shine. Among the supporting cast, the snarky best man/bride’s brother Chuck (Steven Reddington) adds the most laughs, followed closely by the hapless aforementioned groom and maid-of-honor, Lexi (Aditi George).
But the most admirable aspect is all the hats that Madison Hatfield wore – writer, director and co-star. I didn’t check on whether she also handled craft services but it wouldn’t surprise me if she did. Though she’s penned a dozen or so shorts and films, this is her first time directing a feature-length production. She keeps things moving well despite the limitations of spending almost all the running time within one house. Plus, one must admire a creator who casts herself in the bitchiest, most antagonistic role, and dives headlong into milking the worst from her character’s character. That reminds me of prolific TV series creator Stephen J. Cannell, whose biggest acting gig was playing the corrupt, sadistic antagonist of hero Lorenzo Lamas throughout the long run of his “Renegade.” Cannell’s vicious, relentless pursuit of Lamas made Lt. Gerard of “The Fugitive” seem like Dr. Kimble’s bestie.
COURTNEY GETS POSSESSED is not a great film, and may not be completely weird enough for eventual cult status. But it’s worth a look if only to get acquainted with Ms. Hatfield. She seems poised for success on both sides of the cameras.
COURTNEY GETS POSSESSED opens in theaters on Friday, Nov. 3.
RATING: 2 out of 4 stars