THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE review

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Well it’s about time. Technically, I’ve known about this movie for a few weeks now, and I’m not just talking about the trailers. According to MovieInsider.com, this movie was supposed to come out a couple weeks ago, but… didn’t. Likely very select theaters… that weren’t in Los Angeles. Seems unlikely, but whatever. It’s coming out now. Thumbs up, bro.

The story looks like it’s about a mortician who gets a creepy body involving a young woman named Hannah Grace, who died during an exorcism, which contorted her body in an unnatural pose and eyes still open. However, as it turns out, maybe Hannah isn’t quite dead and the body begins terrorizing the mortician.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Shay Mitchell (MOTHER’S DAY [2016]), Kirby Johnson (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), Stana Katic (THE SPIRIT [2008] and CASTLE [2009 – 2016]), and Grey Damon (PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS [2013] and 2 episodes of THE FLASH [2014 – ongoing]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Diederik Van Rooijen, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming PENOZA (2019). Penning the screenplay is Brian Sieve, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Composing the score is John Frizzell, known for WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (2016). The cinematographer is Lennert Hillege, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming BLOODY MARIE (2019). Finally, co-editors are Stanley Kolk (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Jake York (SLENDER MAN [2018]).

Overall, I have to admit that this does look scary. Contorted bodies always freak me out, but in the best possible way. It also looks like it’s pretty minimal in terms of how many people will be involved in the plot itself, giving a nice isolated feel for the flick, so I’m hoping to see a lot of acting through expressions, rather than dialog. Obviously, it won’t be that way throughout the film, but here’s hoping that it’s the majority. Honestly, just don’t make the protagonist dumb, ease up on the “chun” sound when something scary quickly appears, and a subtle score would be nice. I doubt I’ll get the score I’d like, but the rest will make me enjoy it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE

 

(SUMMARY)

Months ago, Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson) became possessed by an evil spirit. Despite the best efforts of a group of priests performing an exorcism, they failed to save Hannah’s soul, one of the priests was killed, and Hannah’s father (Louis Herthum) was forced to kill her.

Present day, Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell) is a former police officer with a troubled history. She is currently in rehab and a recovering drug addict. She’s also started working the graveyard shift at her new job as a mortician at the local hospital. One of her first solo jobs is the horribly contorted body of Hannah Grace. Suddenly, her equipment isn’t working as it should and supernatural things start happening around her. What first appears to be Meg losing her mind soon turns more real as people start disappearing and dying around her, making her think that Hannah isn’t dead after all, and only getting stronger.

(REVIEW)

Wow, this movie is getting a lot of hate. Even IMDB had this movie at a seven out of ten the week before it premiered. Now it’s at a 5.1. That’s a hell of a drop. But… I gotta say, I didn’t hate this movie. Hell, I don’t even think it’s that bad.

Well, let’s get some things out of the way. I don’t think this movie is all that good either. I do see the problems. For one, it’s very trope-y. I understand that with each kill, Hannah gets stronger. Thing is, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in her power level as the story progresses. In fact, she seems pretty powerful even at the start of the movie. Shorting out technology, making entire rooms quake, and killing a dude telekinetically, I simply fail to understand how much more powerful she truly gets. Unless being able to walk around when Meg isn’t looking somehow counts. For that matter, why doesn’t Hannah kill Meg? Even one of the characters asks this question at some point, but the question is never answered. Acknowledging a plot hole doesn’t get you off the hook, y’all. Fill in the hole! And it does feel incredibly silly that after every kill, Hannah needs to go back to her morgue cooler instead of somewhere else where Meg can’t find her. Not even just that, but all wrapped up in her body bag no less. What a polite homicidal demon.

And yes, there are dumb characters that deservedly get killed off and there are cheap jump scares from assholes who are joking around, it’s about as lame as it can get in that regard.

<<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ And despite how powerful the demon seems to be, it basically puts itself in a position to be killed in the end. I mean, it just lets Meg take Hannah to the cremation chamber and made Meg’s job a whole lot easier to kill her. Nearly no resistance whatsoever until a pretty contrived struggle, which ends about the way you’d expect. And to make matters confusing, the movie tries to make it seem like there’s going to be a sequel, but this isn’t made clear. Did Hannah somehow possess Meg and we not know it? If so, why did she struggle so much to not die. And is the squishing of the fly meant to represent that she’s now possessed? That’s lame. Flies are a nuisance and no one likes having them around. So… why such a dark emphasis on Meg’s epilogue?  ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>

But as I said, there are a few things in this movie that I enjoy and even appreciate.

The movie surprisingly has a toned down score, like I wanted. It’s not like it doesn’t bloat when the action starts, but around the time when Hannah is more comfortably up and about and she’s creepily crawling up to Meg, there’s actually no score to be heard. It just lets the scene play out naturally and be creepy on its own. Even better horror films don’t always do this and I thought it was effective.

I also really enjoyed the way that Hannah moved around. It’s very similar to the spider-crawl in THE RING 2, but it feels like she moves move like an actual crawl. And though she does that stop-motion thing, it still looks more natural and less… contort-y. Not that I don’t think the contortion isn’t amazingly creepy, I’ve just seen it far too much, even in lesser films. Besides, I think Johnson did a great job of contorting her body convincingly enough simply laying on that table. Some of the lighting, the use of shadows, all of this really gives Hannah a formidable presence.

I enjoy the setting. There’s a nice sense of isolation, a chilling silence that’s never broken by the score, and when a loud noise makes you jump, it’s natural and shared by Meg. I don’t even technically consider it a jump scare, so much as a natural complaint of the job than any one of us working there would have to put up with and hate.

Also, anything that has Stana Katic in it will always get a bonus point for me.

Overall, I don’t really agree with the hate this movie seems to be getting. While I agree it’s not always good, I do find myself appreciating some aspects that I wish more horror movies tried. Yes, not everything adds up and more or less gets silly if you think about them. If you didn’t like this movie, I can see why and I won’t argue. But I thought it did a few things right and ultimately made for a fine enough viewing. Nothing that bad, but not good either.

My honest rating for THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE: 3/5

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