The Possession Of Hannah Grace (2018)
Directed By: Diederik Van Rooijen
Written By: Brian Sieve
It’s late November, which means that Awards Season is underway. There are films in the theaters now with plenty of Oscar buzz. Respected movies like Green Book, Creed II, Boy Erased and The Front Runner. I decided to forego all of those however, so I could purchase a ticket to The Possession Of Hannah Grace. If ever there was a title that screamed Oscar potential, it’s The Possession Of Hannah Grace.
In reality, I was hoping for an escape. A fun horror movie to sit back and enjoy. Unfortunately, I was in the theater showing this film and not the one showing Overlord. The Possession Of Hannah Grace has a runtime of 85 minutes. It’s so predictable and full of weird plot holes that that 85 minutes feels like two and a half hours. This is not the escape I was looking for.
The problems with this film seem to come from two sources. They both lead to the same place though and that is the script. I have absolutely no knowledge regarding this movie’s production but it looks to me like writer Brian Sieve had a screenplay with some good ideas and then someone at the production company started giving notes and they never stopped. Everything about The Possession Of Hannah Grace reeks of executive interference. There are so many things wedged into this story that it doesn’t stand a chance.
These notes can’t be blamed for the terrible dialogue though. Seriously, it’s so bad that you’ll wonder if Sieve has ever heard real people talk before. There is no subtext in anything. If a character thinks something, they just blurt it out. Nor can they be blamed for the virtually non-existent characters. Every person we meet in this film is given a name and then we just wait for them to die.
There are some good things in the story. It has an interesting take on the possession story. It doesn’t follow the formula that you think it does. It starts off that way but quickly shifts into something different. After a quick exorcism scene to open the film we are introduced to the main character, Megan. She is an ex-cop suffering from PTSD after her partner is killed. She dealt with this by drinking and taking pills, which drove her boyfriend away. When we meet her, she has gotten into a program and her sponsor has managed to get her an overnight job at the morgue. Yes, that’s all really jammed in there even though at least half of it could be cut. On her first night on the job the body of a young girl is dropped off and that’s when things get creepy.
Trying to unpack everything that is wrong in that last paragraph would take too long. That’s how the whole film plays out. Things that don’t make any sense happen and nothing is ever done to make then seem believable. They just happen because they happen. How is she qualified to work alone in the morgue? Don’t know. Why is she left alone one night after being hired with no real training? Don’t concern yourself with that. How is it possible that this story takes place in Boston yet not one character has an accent? If I’m haunted by anything from The Possession Of Hannah Grace, it will be these questions and the dozen others that have no logical answer.
Everything else about the movie is fine. A couple of visual moments shine but it leaves a lot on the table in that department. The motion lights all throughout the giant labyrinth of a morgue could have made for some cool shots but there aren’t many that pop. It looks like a real movie, which is to say that it’s shot well but it doesn’t dazzle.
The same holds true for the acting. All of the performances are fine, especially given the dialogue these poor people were handed. No one ruins the movie and no one really stands out as great. Overall, this would be an entirely forgettable film if not for the multiple plot problems. I wish it was better. The concept is solid, the execution just isn’t there. When you get to the multiplex walk down the hall to the theater showing Overlord, you’ll be happy you did.