Besetment (2017)

Starring Abby Wathen, Marlyn Mason, Michael Meyer

Directed by Brad Douglas


Gainful employment: it certainly isn’t around every corner, and at times people are forced to take a job that they necessarily might not enjoy just to make ends meet…then there are those jobs that make you wish you’d never filled out an application. Today, the focus is on Brad Douglas’ first directorial venture, and it’s called Besetment – settle in and grab a cold one because this could get messy.

Abby Wathen stars in this thriller as Amanda, a young woman whose life is in a bit of a pickle. With a functioning alcoholic of a mother (Lindsae Klein) and a home situation that isn’t very conducive to a productive existence, her job hunt leads her to a small, sleepy backwoods town in Oregon. Her new gig at a small hotel as a housekeeper doesn’t promise to pay much, but at least she’s back on her feet…well, for now anyway. Run by Mildred (Mason) and her son, Billy (Meyer) – two of the sweetest souls you’d ever want to encounter – that is, until after a night of celebratory cocktails, Amanda wakes up with seemingly no recognition of what has taken place…probably better that she didn’t know anyway.

The film doesn’t tiptoe around its intentions and shoves its rather large premise right in our pieholes, regardless of whether or not we’re willing to accept it at the time – no bother, because it’s shocking, violent and completely against the grain of any workers’ agreement clause on occupational safety.

As time passes, the plan for dear, sweet Amanda begins to emerge from the fog, and the details of what has been taking place are a bit… demented. I’ll leave you all waiting at the check-in desk here; I wouldn’t want to spill any more details, as there’s been plenty of other things “spilled” in this film.

Surprisingly enough, the acting in this film is markedly better than I thought it was going to be, and the instances of wrought terror are enough to keep your eyes peeled. While there are a few sluggish moments in pacing, the overall tempo is a fluid one, and it aids in the story’s progression – Douglas is obviously someone who knows how to keep a film moving along and not beating his audience with the boredom stick in order to convey his directive.

Overall, Besetment is one of those rainy-day watches that should serve any horror fan well if they’re looking for a hidden gem among a sea of tarnished rocks – give this one a look, and please take some notes. If you ever find yourself out of a job, just cause it looks good on paper, doesn’t mean you won’t end up somebody’s prisoner wrapped up in clean sheets…well, I hope they’re clean sheets.

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Matt Boiselle

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