The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018)

Genres - Horror, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - Nov 30, 2018 (USA)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Travis Norris

The Possession of Hannah Grace almost seems like an unfinished movie. As the film unfolds, it is clear that there was potential when the idea was originally pitched, but director Diederik Van Rooijen and screenwriter Brian Sieve fail to capture any imagination or originality in their final product. Characters are under-developed, relationships are forced, and the evil deity driving all the terror is just not terrifying. Although "The Possession" fails to deliver a memorable story, it succeeds in creating an eerie setting, a Boston Hospital morgue, which has the potential of keeping the viewer on edge.

After a botched exorcism leads to the death of Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson), a tormented father must kill his daughter, Hannah, in order to save her from the demonic possession. Not long after, Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell), a former cop and recovering addict, accepts a job as the overnight intake assistant at a local morgue. After dealing with trauma from her past job, Reed needs a change of scenery, and the morgue seems like a perfect fit. A seemingly morbid job for most, her nightly routine consists of taking in dead bodies, logging them into the database, and storing them for examination. Everything was moving along without a hitch, until one night, a strange cadaver is admitted into the morgue.

The problem with this film is the fact that it has absolutely no character. Shay Mitchell looks content to offer nothing in her performance, as she walks around the morgue looking bored and scared at the same time. The rest of the cast is almost unmentionable, as their screen time is limited, and their performances are forgettable. All relationships between the characters seemed forced and artificial, usually being developed through a 30-second dialog between the actors. This makes some of the later scenes laughable and cringe-worthy, as any affinity towards the cast is non-existent.

What made "The Possession" even remotely watchable were the frightening moments of tension in between the fleeting jump-scares. The morgue is definitely creepy, albeit weirdly dark. Mitchell spends most of the movie walking down dark hallways, waiting for the light sensors to kick on and illuminate the morgue. In what originally seemed like a clever play on the lighting, eventually became tired and annoying.

The Possession of Hannah Grace is almost a complete failure, if not for the setting that deserved a better plot. Unfortunately, the film is very forgettable, as it will be lost among others in an already over-saturated genre. Some may be intrigued by the constant threat of Hannah's demon, but most will see the movie for what it really is: a lazy attempt at horror that was released a month too late.