Deja Vu

The Possession of Hannah Grace follows a disgraced and traumatized ex-cop who becomes a solitary nightshift worker in the morgue of a local hospital. When a mangled corpse arrives, it becomes gradually apparent that the corpse did not arrive under ordinary circumstances, and what's worse is the entity responsible may still be with the body.

The Possession of Hannah Grace Review

"There's nothing new under the sun" is now a reality of filmmaking that I feel is becoming cliche to hold against horror films that fit a subgenre. It's now reached a point that I should focus my efforts on simply praising the films that are able to present a majority of originality in their respective plots and execution, only addressing the truly atrocious crimes of creative plagiarism. With that said, this film isn't worth calling out.

I'm about done with the "possession of" or "exorcism of" movie titles...It feels lazy that someone can't come up with a better title or that the studio has such a lack of respect for the intelligence of its audience that it feels its marketing needs to be blatant to avoid confusion. Either way, I'm offended.

But onto the actual film...Hannah Grace features a decent plot reminiscent of The Autopsy of Jane Doe in the most basic of structures, with scares that feel like a mix between James Wan gimmicks, mainstream tropes and The Grudge scares.

With the constant flow of horror down our proverbial gullets, tropes and cliches become all-the-more apparent. One I have started to develop a distaste for is what I like to call the "filler scare". I detest this particular scare more than the "empty scare", which is the jump scare that involves a harmless catalyst, like a frightened cat or a particularly sneaky and nosy neighbor. Unlike the empty scare, a filler scare involves the antagonist, but breaks motif and character of the entity to go for a scare. This is most common in haunted house films...why is the house consciously making an effort to scare people? Most of the time, we don't get a decent explanation for this. In Hannah Grace, it's a scene in a bathroom stall, in which our demon scares our protagonist for what feels like no good reason. When you put into the context of how the demon treats all of the other characters in the film, it makes no sense, and it hurts the motif of the antagonist and thereby the quality of the story as a whole.

I would say the most abhorrent flaw in the film is the editing. I'm convinced there was a change in the plot and/or ending as the production neared its end and there were reshoots that tried to retcon the change. Minor spoilers warning: The particular transitions/scenes in question involved the incinerator room...Before cutting to the scenes involving the room, we have an awkward, sudden transition that doesn't follow with the tone, pace, timing or flow of the preceding scene(s). It feels like a garbled mess, and it happens with every cut to the incinerator without fail. This, with the ending, makes me feel somebody decided to change the tone of the finale. Inevitably, the movie was worse for it.

I did enjoy most of the scares, however pedestrian in style and execution they may have been. The familiar movements of the possessed were still creepy enough for me, and I loved some of the peripheral visuals throughout. The plot had some interesting key elements, but from a subjective standpoint, I often disagreed with the execution creatively and inherently in the final product.

Hannah Grace is a flawed, yet mildly entertaining romp in horror that was worth checking out simply because we've hit a bit of a lull in theatrical horror. I just needed to see something, and this film hit the spot. Sometimes a few mindless scares can get you through to the next hidden gem, and you could certainly do worse than this one.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 9/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 4/10