Review of “Ava’s Possessions”
Written and directed by: Jordan Galland
Run time: 89 minutes
The three most tired horror sub-genres in existence are, in personal order, zombies, found footage, and possession. They have all been done to death, resurrected, and done to death again. It is nearly impossible (not entirely, but nearly) to do anything original, inside any of the three. Once in a while though a beam of light shines through the darkness that is countless over-told tales of the dead, the undead, and the demon filled. Last year, we were treated to one of the better vampire flicks in recent memory (that also happened to be one of the better blends of horror and comedy ever) in “What We Do In the Shadows”. 2016’s first impressively original addition to the possession sub-genre is Jordan Galland’s “Ava’s Possessions”.
Galland does something brilliant here, which is to tell the story of a young woman after the exorcism of the demon that had possessed her. Ava (Krause) has a rude awakening, after being cured of the evil spirit that caused her to do a lot of damage (physical and psychological) to a lot of people. She has made enemies out of nearly all of her friends, lost her boyfriend and her job, and is facing some serious jail time. Add to all of that, that her family is begging her to institutionalize herself.
Fortunately for Ava, there is a way out of all of trouble her possession is causing her. She just has to complete a course in what equates to AA for the previously possessed. The group organizer, Tony (Stevens), tells her all she has to do is make amends to everyone she hurt, and strengthen her resolve against demon spirits so that she isn’t in danger of being re-possessed any time soon. The only problem is that, to do those things, she has to find everyone she hurt and discover the horrible acts her demon made her commit in the process.
There are really two stories at play here, and Galland does a masterful job at balancing them. On one hand you have Ava dealing with her demon rehab. She investigates everything that happened during her possession and the people that were involved, including a nice supporting performance from Lou Taylor Pucci as a mysterious man who seems to be stalking Ava. The second and slightly less effective part of the story is centered on Ava’s family and what part (if any) they had to play in her becoming possessed in the first place. Oh… and she also is dealing with the fact that her demon isn’t going away quietly, and keeps trying to find a way back in.
Both sides of the story bland nicely though and the film never loses it’s footing. That would seem a testament to Galland’s ability as both a director and a writer. The performances are all solid, but it is most definitely Lousia Krause who steals the show. I don’t think it is overstating things to say that she is a star in the making, and her performance here should help get her there before we horror fans know it.
The colors in the cinematography are mesmerizing and help to create a noirish feel to the world in which the film takes place, thanks to the capable hands of Adrian Peng Correia. The score, by Sean Lennon, is great also. Really every element of the movie works in unison and a surprising, original possession movie is the result. Horror fans should definitely seek this one out.