Movie Review: AVA’S POSSESSIONS (2015)

When it comes to horror genres, one of my favorites is religious horror.  I’ve always been attracted to stories of the other side of good, where darkness and evil take form and slink around in shadowed corners.  Growing up a Christian, we were taught the stories of angels and demons as well as Lucifer’s fall from Heaven.  We were always taught to stay in the light, to trust in God, and to never meddle within the darkness.  However, sometimes, we don’t have a choice.  Sometimes the demon sees our body as a host and no matter how much of a fight we put up, that demon, come hell (pun intended) or high water, will consume us.

Time and time again, we are shown movies that deal with religious horror through exorcisms.  There are so many of these types of movies that I don’t need to make a list for you.  Obviously, the most notable one (which is also my personal favorite horror movie of all time), is The Exorcist by William Friendkin. Continuously through these movies we are shown the subjects life prior to and leading up to the exorcism but never their life afterwards.  Hasn’t anyone stopped to ask why we haven’t?  The answer to your question is yes and that person is director Jordan Galland.

Ava’s Possessions tells the story of Ava Dobkins (Louisa Krause), a young woman who has just had a demon exorcised from her.  We see very little of the exorcism or what has led up to it, but what we do find out, through her caseworker, is all the mayhem Ava caused when she was possessed.  In order to stay away from serving jail time, she agrees to go to SPA – Spirit Possession Anonymous to try to put all the missing pieces of her life back together; however, things are not easy.  She soon begins to have nightmarish visions and realizes that maybe the demon isn’t completely gone.

I’m not sure there are enough words to express how much I loved this movie. It was such a breath of fresh air to see a  movie that didn’t follow the same script as every other main stream horror movie.  I loved that we were able to see how the possession and subsequent exorcism affected Ava’s life in the form of her relationships with her family, friends, and work place. It was also interesting to see Ava battling with her inner demons, both literally and figuratively.  Louisa Krause, who played Ava, was absolutely fantastic and a perfect choice for the character of Ava.  She was incredibly believable and I grew to sympathize for her character.  Ava’s Possessions also stars Lou Taylor Pucci (Spring), William Sadler (Z Nation), Deborah Rush (Orange is the New Black), Wass Stevens (House of Cards), and Carol Kane (The Princess Bride).

Not only was the acting incredible, but the set design was colorful and vibrant (a stark contrast to the usual grey subdued tones in other Exorcism horror movies) and the score was terrific.  I should note that the score was done by Sean Lennon and it helped with the pacing of the film.  I would also like to note that the music did not lend itself to cheap jump scares and that, in and of itself, was a breath of fresh air.  The music had a purpose and wasn’t just used as a tactic.  It went along with the movie and had a lasting impression.

In conclusion, I loved this film.  It was fun but not campy.  It was dark but not dreadful.  It showed it’s viewers a different perspective of what happens with an exorcism and what life may be like afterwards.  Director Jordan Galland took an overused horror genre/subject and made something unique and different and for that I give him thanks.  If you are wondering if you should see this movie the answer is YES!  Give props to the directors who are willing to try something different and think outside of the box.  We need more creative individuals like that and I look forward to seeing more films from Jordan Galland in the future.  Ava’s Possessions comes out in select theaters and VOD tomorrow, March 4th and for more information head over to the official website

Shannon McGrew
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