We love a good jump scare or two, or 20, and the new horror film the Possession of Hannah Grace offers plenty. However, we wished the film also invested more on its story, and leveraged its intricately designed set to maximum chilling effect. Jump scares are only as good as the story— apply too much and the weakness in the plot bursts at the seams.
A PROPER ENDING
This film takes the cake for one of the most abrupt third acts, like “WTF the movie’s over?” It felt like the filmmakers couldn’t figure out how to close the film, so they took the first suggestion and went with it. The ending is just a disservice to the carefully-constructed terror during the first half, retreating back into drama, and fully forgetting that it is first and foremost, a horror vehicle.
EXPLORE THE DEMONIC PRESENCE
There are brief mentions of the Catholic Church, the possession, and whatnot, but for the most part, it is just an undead woman wreaking havoc inside a morgue. Since the film already humanized Hannah Grace by trying to piece together her identity, they could have just included the demon that possessed her. But perhaps, the film is all cheap thrills, huh?
As goes the Filipino saying… “kung mangongopya ka lang din, galling-galingan mo na.” The film borrows elements from a lot, Unrest and The Exorcist, among them, but the references are just… references. There was no improvement whatsoever, or reinvention maybe, in the same vein that Tarantino borrowed from Lady Snowblood and Brian de Palma, but made Kill Bill distinctly his own.
LEAVE ROOM FOR THE IMAGINATION
A common mistake in horror films is trying to explain everything in order for audiences to understand, but just look at Hereditary, a film so twisted and purposively vague that it continues to haunt audiences long after they’ve seen it. We want to be scared off our wits but we also want to have something to be disturbed about when we go home.
A MORE DEFINED PROTAGONIST
Although the premise of a disgraced cop who goes to work in a morgue so she can be antisocial (and overcome addiction) seems plausible, we’d have loved a little more peek into what makes Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell) tick. This begs the question whether Mitchell was simply miscast, or the script didn’t dig deep enough into the character. Also, wouldn’t a depressed person become worse in isolation?
If you’ve seen a lot of horror films, then you’ll be able to guess the plot points of this 86-minute ordeal, such as which characters will die, where the freaking undead will appear, or what’s going to happen next. There is absolutely no twist at all. And while some may argue that a film does not a twist to become entertaining, this one definitely does. We’d have given our left arms if it turned out that Hannah Grace and Megan are actually sisters, but no, that didn’t happen.
INTRODUCE MORE LIGHT
There’s no sense being terrified if you cannot see what is happening onscreen, much less feel it. A lot of the scenes are either too dark, too abruptly stitched together, or too dark (oh right, we said that before, but damn the movie is too dark it could have been set during the cretaceous period). Some inspired scenes are memorable— Hannah Grace slowly approaching the screen at the hospital rooftop, and the motion-sensor lights in the morgue, but there are just not enough of them.
FULFILL YOUR PROMISE
The film opens rather pretty well— there’s some tense buildup of the morgue’s physical layout, the hauntings come off neatly, but as soon as people started dying, the plot also spirals out of control. If you lay out good things in the beginning, make sure your ending is three million times better, because people will always remember the ending. We remember this ending: it sucks, really really bad.
Have you seen the movie? Tell us what you think of it below!