Verdict: Holds your attention throughout with some genuine scares.
Horror movies are letting go of old tropes. In the recent past, there have been some great attempts to revive the genre with good stories and genuine scares that hold your attention throughout the movie. Get Out had many meaningful layers hidden deep within its story, A Quiet Place brought us a story never seen on film before, and Hereditary shocked us with its unique attempt at story-telling. The Possession of Hannah Grace is the latest horror film that impresses both with story and technique. Directed by Dutch filmmaker Diederik Van Rooijen, the movie stars Pretty Little Liars alumni Shay Mitchell in the lead role.
What’s The Possession of Hannah Grace About:
The movie begins with the exorcism of Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson) – a young girl whose body and soul are possessed by an evil force. Every attempt to vanquish the force is thwarted and Hannah’s father realizes that the only way to save his only child is to kill her. Three months later, we are introduced to Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell) – an ex-police officer dealing with addiction issues. An incident causes her to lose her job as a cop and she is now working the night shift at a morgue. One night, a cadaver is delivered to the morgue in a grotesque condition. From the moment Megan takes it in, strange things begin to happen around the morgue. As stories start to unravel, she realizes that the cadaver is still alive and killing people to heal itself. Now, it’s up to her to get rid of the evil force before it consumes her.
True to its genre, The Possession of Hannah Grace is awash with jump scares, long silent sequences, and gory murders. But unlike the trope, the movie doesn’t rely too much on these elements. The horror factor is amplified as the story behind Hannah Grace begins to unravel. Simultaneously, we learn a lot about the lead character who is riddled by demons of her own. The balance between good and evil has been portrayed well and there’s a fixed train of thought throughout the movie rather than a hogwash of multiple plotlines, like most horror movies tend to do.
Shay Mitchell is sincere in her role and it’s refreshing to see her experiment with this genre, much like her Pretty Little Liars co-star Lucy Hale who was seen in Truth or Dare. She brings a sense of confidence to her character and you feel comfortable pinning all your hopes on an addict who is also grappling with anxiety and depression. The supporting characters are mostly in the background of things, which works well with the film that mainly focusses on its two central characters. Kirby Johnson also delivers well as the possessed spirit and her bizarre performance stays with you much longer than you’d expect. Lighting has been used to perfection in the film and with minimal sound, the movie manages to evoke the fear and suspense with ease.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The movie takes its time in the first half to establish both the story and its characters but seems too rushed once the picture is clear. The last 10-15 minutes could have been extended for a better effect and more long-term impact.
Why You Should Watch:
Horror movie fans have a treat awaiting them in theatres in the form of Hannah Grace. Possession has never felt this scary before and with plenty of jump scares, you’re likely to have a roller coaster ride of emotions throughout the film. Or you can simply watch your favorite television actress, this time in some real action that will make you fall in love with her even more.