Ex-cop and (sorta) reformed alcoholic Megan (Shay Mitchell) just took a job handling morgue intakes at Boston Metro Hospital…and although she would assume that most folks check in but they don’t check out, she has yet to meet the corpse of one Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson) who found herself on the losing end of one those demonic possession/exorcism deals that we all know and love in our beloved horror biz. Speaking of Hannah, our femme fatale doesn’t stay lying down for long, and soon she’s a-herkin’ and a-jerkin’ around that morgue killing folks to heal her wounds, and Megan will be lucky if she sees the dawn!
First up, and probably most important to you boils n’ ghouls is the fact that although the word “possession” appears front and center in the flicks title, the actual “exorcism” material you lot would assume would be plentiful in The Possession of Hannah Grace is mostly relegated to the first five minutes of the film (though it is a fun sequence despite it’s familiarity…more on that below)…but the idea of a corpse of a former victim of demonic possession going around raising all sorts of hell is a novel and ultimately entertaining one (kudos to Screenwriter Brian Sieve on that) and Johnson is certainly well up to the task of portraying that vile villain with a masterful contortionist’s skill. Another plus are the absolutely breathtaking corpse effects…these cadavers are gnarly as all fuck (with Hannah leading the charge of course) and are a stomach churning site to behold. Adding to the ambiance of the piece, the morgue itself makes for a fine location; all cold concrete and deep shadows (rather than the mostly stainless steel affairs usually depicted in Hollywood productions), and Director Diederik Van Rooijen shows definite talent visualizing it all.
In the negative column, this film has plenty of hoary ol’ chestnuts that it has absolutely no problem trotting out. We get our substance addled troubled hero who has fallen from grace (and may be not so sound of mind), the by the numbers exorcism biz (contorting, hella ugly young lady strapped to a bed and making all manner of deviltry transpire, obvious jump scares, and a color palette consisting primarily of blue filters and grey environs. The biggest flaw however is in the performance of Mitchell as our lead; she is by no means bad in her role, she just isn’t that interesting of a character…she’s just sort of “there” as chaos ensues from beyond the grave.
Along with the feature, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have included a few extras on this Blu-ray release comprised of featurettes on the film’s actors and make-up effects, 2 video diaries recorded by the Megan character, and a brief deleted scene.
While a mixed-bag, The Possession of Hannah Grace is nevertheless an entertaining fright flick featuring some truly impressive make-up artistry, an energetic performance from Johnson, and enough nuggets of new ideas among the tropes to make it worth a view.