Cougar Cult is about three sisters who live in a large mansion and need to hire attractive college boys to keep up with maintenance and housework. Yes, it’s the exact same large mansion as A Talking Cat!?! and An Easter Bunny Puppy. I like to imagine that DeCoteau is trying to make films all set in the same location that kids can grow up with, like the Harry Potter series. They can learn all about morals and good decisions with A Talking Cat!?! and discover their sexuality with Cougar Cult, which to be clear would be a horrible idea. More on that later. Clara, Victoria, and Edwina spend their days lounging around their mansion in skimpy robes and dresses while Rufus, Darwin, and Coopersmith spend their summer as live-in aids. They are hired to cook, clean, run errands, and be personal masseuses. Subtle. It turns out that they need these boys as sacrifices to their goddess to maintain eternal life. Oh, and to eat them. Because they can turn into cougars. Like, actual cougars.
Aside from having the most wonderfully awkward names in the history of cinema, Rufus, Darwin, and Coopersmith are also pretty ripped. We know this because almost immediately after they’re hired for the job, they stop wearing shirts for almost no reason. One of them is asked to strip down for his position as a masseuse (come on, DeCoteau), but beyond that, there’s no reason that the others have to be shirtless. Except for the 5-minute long shower sequences. There are long, long chunks of the movie that are made up of shots of a boy in a shower, taken from a single angle the entire scene, with the same Instagram-filtered footage of the sisters’ pagan cougar ritual. Each boy has a shower scene or two and several of them have a nightmare scene where they toss and turn in their beds with the same footage of the sisters in their heads. I saw Clara stick her tongue out to the camera by the pool way more times than anybody ever should. Maybe that was DeCoteau’s way of campaigning for syndication of his movies? “Look how good this holds up on multiple viewings!” Well, it doesn’t.
The sad thing is that this probably could have been aired on TV. Cougar Cult is so tame that it’s almost upsetting that you’re putting up with such a lame plot for very little, shall we say, “payoff.” After doing lots of scientific research, I came up with a highly scientific and mathematically-sound concept called the Porn-To-Plot Ratio. Basically, the more aroused you get the viewer, the more ludicrous plot you can get away with. Remember the porno in The Big Lebowski? It doesn’t matter if the guy doesn’t fix the cable. But in Cougar Cult, there’s very little that’s sexy about anything that’s going on. Sure, the boys are in their underwear 90% of the film, but that only results in horrible double-entendres from the sisters. Yes, the whole cougar thing is clever, but there’s not enough payoff for anybody to want to sit through this garbage heap of a film to be aroused. Thankfully, that’s not why we’re here; there’s plenty to laugh at this movie about.
The cougar sisters can control the boys’ minds when they want, so there are times when a boy is put into a trance while he’s asleep. He’s then stunned with some kind of magical amulet and has oil poured onto his unconscious bodies while the cougar sisters chant some kind of pagan ritualistic verse and rub the oil into the boy’s body. Aside from almost qualifying as rape, this strange ritual is done multiple times throughout the film, once to each boy. It’s not sexy, scary, or intimidating; it’s just bizarre. It’s shot in broad daylight with lots of natural sunlight coming into the room, it’s all made up of boring medium-angle shots from only one or two perspectives, the sisters’ voices are distorted in an Exorcist kind of way that’s impossible to understand, and, of course, they splice in the exact same goddamn Instagram-filtered footage from before. The best part is that at the end of the ritual, they turn into actual cougars and eat the boy. In the great tradition of David DeCoteau biting off way more than he can chew when it comes to animal effects, he literally photoshops a picture of a roaring cougar onto each sister’s face for a second as they lunge down towards their unconscious prey. It’s unintentional comedy gold.
I’m starting to wonder what audience Cougar Cult is intended for. It’s not raunchy or bloody enough to be an adult movie, but it’s definitely too risqué to be geared towards anybody younger than 18. Its main focus is supposed to be the cougars, but there's more skin from the boys. David DeCoteau is openly gay and most of his other films are male-centric, but it feels out of place in a movie where the evil literal-cougars are the main focus. It seems like the only people who can appreciate this shitstorm are the bad movie fans. Sorry DeCoteau; we're all laughing at you, not with you.
This article is part of NUFEC's Bad Movies series. Find 1313: Cougar Cult on Netflix here and Amazon here.