Film Review: Courtney Gets Possessed
Courtney Gets Possessed
Director: Maddison Hatfield, Jono Mitchell
“There’s a million ways to be broken, and I know them all intimately.” –Dave, AKA Satan.
Whether you’re watching a gut-busting comedy or a spine-tingling horror flick, you could argue that both follow a similar formula. First comes the setup, drawn out for tension and results in a surprise—all that’s different is the outcome. Because of this, it’s refreshing to see when comedy and horror work together as a singular filmmaking enterprise. However, there’s a very thin line between being perfectly balanced and creating a film that feels like a mockery of the genres.
Case in point, Courtney Gets Possessed follows middle-aged bride-to-be Courtney (Lauren Buglioli, Florida Man), whose bachelorette party turns AWOL when her sleazy, backstabber of a sister Caitlin (Maddison Hatfield, Atlanta) invites Courtney’s ex-paramour Dave (Jonathon Pawlowski, Lovecraft Country), the physical embodiment of Lucifer himself. Instead of male strippers and inflatable penises, this hen night comes under siege by an ancient evil, as the bridesmaids must band together with Courtney’s finance, Glen (Zae Jordan, Doug’s House), and his shoddy team of groomsmen to conduct an exorcism. And here I thought the worst part about weddings was talking with the in-laws.
Between the pearly white, IKEA-floor-model-mise-en-scène and a script riddled with aimless F-bombs, Courtney Gets Possessed feels undercooked. All of the main characters act meaninglessly childish and heartless. The character relationships don’t develop because everyone is too busy being major assholes to everyone else. There’s no previous backstory for why this is, except maybe for Courtney and Caitlin, whose jaded relationship has nearly been destroyed by petty sibling rivalry. It’s not the trope of morally-conflicted characters trying to be decent individuals because these bridesmaids still act like it’s Bad Girls Club.
Now don’t get me wrong, the “group of assholes” trope is a running gag in most horror films. When this happens, we’re wholeheartedly rooting for the revolting monster or masked killer to take out each P.O.S. one by one. But in Courtney Gets Possessed, the group is almost unbelievably bad. Right after the title card, Courtney’s brother, Chuck (Steven Reddington, The Resident), refers to her as “fuck butt.” This is at someone else’s wedding, and he yells it across the room. Even right as the bachelorette party kicks off, Glen’s sister, Jasmine (Najah Bradley, I’m a Virgo), pretty much tells Courtney she’ll never forgive her for their marriage. No one is more guilty of this than Caitlin herself. When you still try to hook up with fucking Beelzebub himself (she knows it’s Satan by this moment) after your sister has been branded with a pentagram, you’re just a shitty person. So, pull the crucifixes out of your asses and cut the attitudes!
I can’t give this movie too much guff, though. Courtney Gets Possessed is an interesting concept with a slight message of no malice toward past love. I can see where Hatfield was going, but the momentum breaks down right as Courtney is, well, possessed. With Hatfield pulling the holy trinity of movie work (acting, writing and directing), it might’ve been too many flaming chainsaws to juggle. Courtney Gets Possessed is not quite broken, it’s just missing pieces. –Alton Barnhart
Read more film reviews on comedic horror flicks:
Film Review: It’s A Wonderful Knife
Film Review: Nandor Fodor and The Talking Mongoose