After Doreen has been possessed by the devil on her wedding night, her groom Hank, and her rebellious brother Travis, put aside their differences to travel across country from Chicago to Las Vegas, in the hopes of finding a mythical street preacher who is said to be the last Exorcist in America
It’s been a while (a GOOD LONG while) since a movie has truly made me belly laugh! Horror-comedy is hard to get right- -it just is! This one does it, though, man….and it does it well. I’m not the first to say that in a public forum. Barely one minute into the film, the protagonist, praising his female-companion’s er, um–skills while they lie in the back of his rocking-70’s panel van garners the phrase from her, “The way you use your words–you make me feel like a JCPenney model!” I mean, c’mon! That’s funny, just reading it! I think I could watch Frank Zieger read his shopping list and I’d still laugh…..the guy is just funny. He’s funny in that classic, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin-kinda way.
This film manages to deliver ‘quirky’ without ever falling over into ‘camp’. Good movies involving long drives or long trips always seem to have a memorable edge to them, (think The Hangover 1, 2 and 3,…..among many others!); this one belongs in that category for sure. After our star declares to his ad-hoc girlfriend that he’s late for his sister’s wedding, we know things are afoot! So, off he goes….in the biggest of hurries. Along his way, he spies a lovely young damsel along the side of the road, stranded with a flat tire. Being the kind sort (sarcasm) that he is, he stops to help and notices a sickly older lady sitting in the cab of the cutie’s pickup truck. A few bits of bally-hoo transpire and the guy winds up with a gypsy-esque pendant which he steals as payment for his roadside assistance. Of course, he was warned away from that one, but if he’d have listened, we wouldn’t have had a movie, now would we? As you might guess, he decides the jewel would make a lovely wedding gift for his beloved sister.
From there, we find ourselves at the sister’s wedding. She and new hubby are played by Erin Breen (Doreen) and Joey Bicicci (Hank), a guy for whom I wasn’t totally nuts, but he does his job and it’s your pretty standard deal….they’re madly in love, they’re wacko for each other. The wedding and reception are loads of fun, yadda-yadda-yadda. There’re some funny dialogue bits dropped in here-and-there, but then the sister(Dorren), accepting the lovely jewel, doesn’t realize that said gift allows Satan (yes, old ‘Scratch’ himself) to infest her soul! As one might imagine, the real fun gets rolling then! A stunning bride, possessed by the Lord of Darkness (while still wearing white, no less) is a neat thing to behold and as one might imagine there’s a lot of biting, fighting and grabbing once that gets underway, what with all the Satanic anger writhing within her. Travis and Hank manage to get the lovely bride into Travis’s van. Realizing they might need some ‘Holy’ intervention, the try a local congregation, but the sweet lady reverend there really doesn’t do exorcisms, so that runs out of steam quickly
. Ultimately, brother remembers that he knows this weird guy (played by the very talented Sid Haig) who might. Haig plays his part of the eccentric antiques dealer perfectly! The visit with him has some fun pieces tossed in and he capably pronounces that he knows the last guy in America he still does exorcisms, as that MUST HAPPEN or Doreen’s soul will below to the Evie One forever after 72 hours have passed! That guy just happens to be a homeless preacher named Johnny Priest (what else?)
Of course, Johnny is in Chicago (a long way from the weird guy’s house), so that entails carting this possessed woman cross-country. Loads of funny talk transpires inside the van and somehow, Frank and Travis even wind up in a beach volleyball tournament (containing Dorreen by burying her up to her neck in sand). Travis, always willing to share way-to-much information about his life, keeps things moving along at a pretty good clip. There are some gore bits tossed in (more as asides, really) but you can really feel the effort put into those.
Born as a short film in 2010, this full-length production was the brainchild of Producers/writers Mike Dozier and Gary Michael Shultz. Both appear to have a great deal of promise and I hope to see more out of them! The film has a perfect little indie web site and I love how the van featured in the film is listed as a character….nice touch! See this one–it’s good. You’ll laugh, I promise!