Starring: Lauren Buglioli, Madison Hatfield and Jonathon Pawlowski
Directed by: Jono Mitchell and Madison Hatfield
Running Time: 86 minutes
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
I’m sure there’s plenty of bridal party horror stories out there; I’ve heard a few myself. Imagine the awkward mashing of friends and family, who may not know each other, or may bring their own secret hatred towards one another. There’s the possibility someone will bring a luggage full of drama to unload before the night is over. Regardless, I don’t think anyone has had a bridal party from hell much like the one in “Courtney Gets Possessed.”
Courtney (Lauren Buglioli) is getting married to Glen (Zae Jordan). Courtney’s bridesmaids include a bookworm friend from college, a scheming sister and Glen’s sister. Unfortunately, it’s not the bridesmaids who are going to ruin the night. Dave (Jonathon Pawlowski), Courtney’s previous friend with benefits before meeting Glen, stops by and is welcomed into the house. Only problem with inviting Dave in to the house party, is that he’s the Prince of Darkness. The Devil has arrived to claim his bride-to-be, Courtney and the only thing standing in his way are the bridesmaids, some unlucky passerbys, and Glen and his ragtag bunch of groomsmen.
There are some pretty solid comedic bits, like an unusually hot pizza guy, mom stopping by to give a gift lube, and the way the film wraps up like some kind of offbeat Satanic sitcom. The horror aspect is non-existent. The film sometimes flips with dramatic overtones when the Devil flexes his might by killing people, threatening death to groomsmen and bridesmaids and forcing dark secrets to surface amongst everyone. It’s fine, but it doesn’t necessarily mix well with the comedy. The only time the dramatic elements work well is when the Devil possesses someone and the cast have to try and imitate Pawlowski’s devilish cockiness and playful evil. The drama between non-possessed people isn’t quite as fiery.
Buglioli actually steals a lot of the scenes, whether she’s playing the sympathetic, sad side of her character, the self-absorbed and vicious side of her character, or channeling the Devil’s delightfully wicked tricks. She really helps carry the film since Pawlowski isn’t on-screen as much as the Lord of Darkness. The Devil spends a lot of time inhabiting other people, but that’s to provide an equal number of stakes in the story along with the laughs. That being said, the film could have easily benefited from more screen time with Pawlowski. He’s instantly charming, and manages to be delightful throughout, even after he’s murdered several people.
While “Courtney Gets Possessed” isn’t necessarily on par with other horror-comedy greats, it’s still a lot of fun because of its use of an original setting for the overused genre. The film is also great with its subtle winks at the possession genre, remembering that there should be a great deal of blood and guts with your chuckles and never being boring; despite its predictability during its brief runtime. I actually had so much fun with the characters, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel of sorts, or at least more with Buglioli and Pawlowski sparring again.