Director: Jordan Galland
Writer: Jordan Galland
Main Cast: Louisa Krause as Ava, Jemima Kirke, and William Sadler
Plot Summary: In a world where demonic possession is the norm and is treated as an addiction one girl has a case where her condition was brought upon her in the most strange of way.
I honestly cannot give this film enough praise with just how aesthetically pleasing it was. The pinks, purple and blues were very reminiscent of It Follows (2014,) but this movie took it a bit further and made it a bit bolder and it was much more frequently used. One scene in particular that stands out to me was near the end of the film, when Ava was meeting up with her lawyer. The highlights on everything were a faded purple that was almost pink and the lowlights or the shadows were a blue - all done with lighting. It looked incredible. I should also mention that it wasn’t so bright that it was distracting or took away from the film, but instead added to it.
The next thing I would like to praise is the soundtrack for this film. It was downright phenomenal and fit perfectly with the overall look and feel that they were trying to achieve. They appropriately used a lot of soft dreamy sounding pop songs that used a lot of synth. I would actually love to own the album on vinyl.
As you all know this movie treated being possessed by a demon (or shall we call it ‘being under the influence’) very intelligently. Originally I didn’t think so, until further discussion with fellow reviewer Bloody Brodie. At first I thought the scene where Ava and Hazel dabbling in dark magic was uselessly thrown in there without a purpose but it totally makes sense. Being possessed has been treated like a drug or alcohol addiction this entire movie, so it is more than understandable that at least one character would have a ‘relapse’ and want to be repossessed. This was brilliantly played and clearly very well-thought out.
Although there wasn’t a lot of gore, I should mention that the special effects they did use were (from what I could tell) all practical. Which is something I always like to praise and call attention to and I would love to see more of in newer horror films. The costume design wasn’t too over the top and didn’t distract myself - except for Ava’s moms eye patch, which I think Ava should have called attention to if her mom didn’t have it before she was possessed.
For the most part, all of the actors were pretty decent - although I should mention there were a few cringe-worthy moments when Ava’s mom was on the screen.
For myself, there were two endings to the film. The one that should have been the actual ending (approximately 7 minutes from the actual end,) and the shitty B movie ending. I highly recommend turning the movie off at 1:18:40 to avoid watching the unnecessary happenings that continue after that point. You’ll enjoy the film a lot more and it won’t leave a sour taste in your mouth when the movie is finished, unlike the actual ending. The ending that I enjoy was brilliant and caught me totally off-guard. They tossed in a couple of red herrings earlier in the film that led you in another direction and away from the potentially obvious ending. It was extremely well-done and very well-thought out.
The main problem that I had with this film was that the main character, Ava, was extremely unrelatable. She would do things that the vast majority would not do being in a similar situation. Nothing huge, but just the way she reacted to finding out she was possessed and the things that she did while being under the influence could have been dramatized a little bit more.
My only other problem with this film was unnecessary characters - like Ava’s boyfriend, for example. He was randomly thrown in, did not help move the story along in any way and was unnecessary. Rather than focusing on random little details and people that don’t further along the plot, they should have spent a bit more time lengthening some of the more important scenes. For example, they could have delved in a bit more with Ava’s hallucinations and made them a bit more scary and traumatizing. This is a possession movie, after all. I would have much rather seen more demons and Ava being terrorized than seeing her call her boyfriend over and over again and have it go nowhere.
I would say it is pretty on par with Contracted (2014,) meaning the acting and the storyline is equally as enjoyable. If you enjoyed that film I think you will enjoy this one a bit more, seeing as there is much more dialogue and character development. The ending was great… until the very end where it went too far. You can honestly stop this movie about 7 minutes before the movie actually ends and it will make the film much more enjoyable and you won’t miss a thing. Lastly, the absolute best part about this film is the lighting and the soundtrack. It is very aesthetically pleasing in an ‘It Follows (2014)’ or ‘Suspiria (1977)’ kind of way, and the music choices fit well with how everything looks and the overall feeling of the film. All in all, I give this film a 7/10 and to be honest I would purchase this one and add it to your collection for the cover of the film alone. It was brilliantly designed and would be a nice little addition to your shelf.