Directed and written by Jordan Galland, this new outlook on the exorcism sub-genre delivers intrigue with stylistic cinematography, a killer soundtrack, and enough twists to make a game of Twister. Ignore the shoddy ratings on this one, folks.
Ava’s Possessions attempts to answer the question that I and many other horror fans frequently ask- “So what happens now?” This is usually asked after the resolution of the film, when the survivor is covered in blood and surrounded by dead bodies and the cops are on their way. Do they walk away, explanation free? Who’s going to pay for all that? Are they going to move? And most importantly, how are they going to function after this ordeal? With Ava, the outlook post-demonic possession is certainly bleak.
Having no memory of her possession, she spends most of her time in her lawyer’s office or at her apartment cleaning and avoiding her suffocating family. With little choice in the matter, she agrees to attend an A.A type of group for the spiritually possessed. Here she learns to prevent re-possession and is encouraged to make amends with those she hurt during her possession. Unfortunately, this backtracking leads her straight into mayhem.
The above synopsis and even the promotional photos for this film make it seem unjustly hokey. There’s nothing hokey or corny about Ava’s Possessions. It’s an intriguing movie based on its premise alone, but the addition of spacey cinematography and set styling makes it feel so much more “expensive.” You feel as if you’re walking through a fun house at a carnival; there’s so much to gaze and wonder at but the bright, colorful lights are focused on the subjects in view and anything else that passes by may or may not catch you off guard. The addition of the whimsical yet eerie music makes the experience so much better, thanks to Sean Lennon. Don’t let this artsy stuff weigh you down though- specific elements of horror are most definitely present. From the shadowy glimpses of the admittedly terrifying demon to the possessed themselves, fans should appreciate the tasteful amount of scares in this thriller/mystery. There’s plenty of opportunities to lose track of time and the brief hints while watching, as there’s so much to process, and you may forget a thing or two until it’s thrown right back in your face when you least expect it. In other words, it demands your full attention. It doesn’t hurt that the cast is a colorful one either. Legends William Sadler and Carol Kane contribute their talents, Dan Fogler provides an out of character performance of a tame comedic relief, and our lead Louisa Krause plays victim of tragedy and struggling twenty-something with heart and a sense of humor.
I honestly have nothing negative to say about Ava’s Possessions. It was inciting, comedic, beautiful to look at, and it made me think- not just stare into the screen and drool over the gore. It somehow flew under the radar, having only discovering it by doing a recent release search. I was turned off by the marketing but in this rare circumstance, I was wrong to judge a horror movie by its cover.