JesusCat (or How I Accidentally Joined a Cult) (2013) – By Misty Layne

JesusCat (or How I Accidentally Joined a Cult) is a unique comedy, the love child of Julia Morizawa who plays the protagonist, Elle and Shaina Vorspan who plays the antagonist, Charlotte. With no actual director and no technical script, the film is almost entirely improvisational and was shot over the course of a year. And holy moly, is it good.

Elle is an amateur documentary filmmaker. Charlotte is the self-proclaimed leader of the religious group, “The Movement for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ through the Seven Prophecies Which Must be Completed in Some Way Before the Evolution of Jesus Back into Man.” As Elle documents the rituals of Charlotte and her followers, she struggles to retain her sanity when she realizes that she may have accidentally joined a cult.

*sighs* Poor awkward Elle. All she wants is to make a friend so she joins up with an online group called Couch Hoppers (y’all remember Couch Surfing, right? Not sure if it’s still around) which allows people to contact her to sleep on her couch if they’re in town and in need of a place to crash. Needless to say, Elle comes across a couple of scary people this way but when Charlotte comes along, she thinks she’s finally found the perfect girl to be her friend. Oh, and did I mention that Elle’s been filming her Couch Hoppers experience for a documentary? Well, with the appearance of Charlotte, who’s just a little on the odd side with her insistence that Elle’s cat wear clothes and being the leader of “The Movement for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ through the Seven Prophecies Which Must be Completed in Some Way Before the Evolution of Jesus Back into Man”, Elle switches the focus of her documentary to the aforementioned religious group. She attends one meeting and meets the other members of the group which include a guy who speaks cat, a woman who is angry at everything, a homeless man and Mr. Happy, the translator for Jesus – oh yeah, Jesus is a cat by the way. So yeah….

What follows is Elle slowly losing her sanity as she realizes she may have joined a cult and the ultimate arrival of the second coming of Jesus. This film has a style akin to Strangers with Candy or The Office, a mockumentary type feel put upon by Elle interviewing the other members of the possible cult intercut with scenes of her vlogging. This style can be hard to pull off for some but here it’s managed effortlessly.

Julia as Elle and Shaina as Charlotte are perfection, both equally hilarious in turn. They’re awkward and hysterical and you can almost just see them giggling between takes. The rest of the cast does just as well a job with their characters. The funny thing is not one single character here is likeable – I hated them all but they’re so damn awkward and ridiculous that you have to laugh. The whole premise is silly fun but also takes on the world of cults in a satirical way – it’s not taking cults lightly but it is having a laugh at the extremes to which some people go to make friends and socialize and how eager people can be to have hope, so much so that they’ll worship a cat even.

JesusCat is a wonderfully funny romp through the world of cults, social anxiety and the forming of new friendships. Considering the improvisational aspect of it and the low budget, it’s phenomenally well done. My favorite part? During the credits there’s a wicked sweet rap song done by Elle and Charlotte. This is a comedian’s comedy, a comedy done right and one movie you should all check out.

You can find out more about JesusCat (or How I Accidentally Joined a Cult) by visiting their website. What are you waiting for? Go now!!