Starring Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon, Kirby Johnson
Directed by Diederik Van Rooijen
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Let me start off this review with this declaration: I absolutely LOVE going against the grain, especially when it comes to films. What normally drives the herd to the theaters in an attempt to latch onto the next great big-screen production is my opportunity to slice and dice into a presentation that is as over-spoken as it is over-hyped and severely overrated…(Bohemian Rhapsody, anyone). When it comes to exorcism flicks, I’m as choosy as the next lad, but when it comes with an ample supply of jumps, bumps, scares and chills…well, that’s the kind of stuff that resonates with me, even if the masses like to take a big ol’ dump on each respective facsimile, even if it’s not The Exorcist (heaven forbid).
I know I’m a little bit late to the party on this one, but I finally had the opportunity of checking out Diederik Ban Rooijen’s The Possession of Hannah Grace, and my reasoning for the delayed viewing was when I originally saw the trailer on television months ago, my worries were deep and a bit statutory. Let’s be honest – there has been a glut of exorcism-gone-awry films that have come down the pike in the last decade, and while some have been noteworthy (at least to me), they’ve generally passed by like a bad case of acid reflux. My biggest worry was that this movie had the looks and feels of a movie aimed at teenyboppers and the MTV-set – all flash, no substance and plenty of pretty faces, but after giving it the look that it deserves, my worries were quickly flushed – so here we go with my take on the film, so agree or disagree if you will – here it is!
The film centers around former Boston PD Officer Megan Reed (Mitchell), and a traumatic incident while she was on the job has left her with a serious case of PTSD, the loss of a relationship, and an even bigger hook into the pharmaceuticals, if ya catch what I’m dumping down your throat in measured doses. Her troubles have found her out of a job and on the hunt for some gainful employment, and her path ends at the Boston Metro Hospital as an overnight morgue intake attendant, and one of her first “customers” is Hannah Grace (Johnson), a young lass who has suffered under the crushing weight of the Devil himself. What we see are flashbacks of an exorcism gone horribly wrong, and the remedy to Hannah’s torment is at the hands of her own father, and the next time we see her she’s brought into the morgue…a mere three months later in ghastly condition, but not as deteriorated as one would think. The film strays from the usual time-consuming holy procedural events in lieu of watching Hannah’s wrath after she’s been deemed an ice-box resident at the medical examiner’s office.
The moments we get to see Hannah’s ordeal are particularly frightening, and Johnson’s contortionist-like performance is the stuff that nightmares are constructed from, and while focused upon, Mitchell in the lead role comes off a bit pedestrian but is effective for the lean end of things. I honestly haven’t been this locked-in to a film of this type in some time, and the only movie that held my attention, fright-wise was 2014’s Last Shift from Anthony DiBlasi. While some might see this movie and poo-poo all over it til the cows come home, it’s just that certain inherent sense of unknowing and fear is what affects us all differently when we see varying types of these movies, and this one freaked me the hell out, to be honest. Van Rooijen relies heavily on the jump-scare, and while some are more effective than others, they all work under the scope of an arduous piece that should appease some finicky fans – not all, but some.
As the credits rolled on this abrupt 85-minute dive into one hellish nightmare of grave-shift undertakings (see what I did there), The Possession of Hannah Grace is one film that absolutely should be watched with the lights off and your ears turned deaf at the barks of the Negative Nellies – watch this one tonight and say your prayers!!
- Two Featurettes:
– “The Killer Cast”
– “An Autopsy of Hannah”
- Deleted Scene
- Megan’s Video Diary Night One
- Megan’s Video Diary Night Two