Synopsis – Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return — and has no intention of letting her escape.
My Take – This horror film is directed Kevin Greutert (Saw VI & VII), as this film targets a completely different set of horror fans, its pretty evident he has clearly struggled to keep the film from falling apart. Unlike the “SAW” films, this film is more of a slow burn horror movie, as it edges at times in the realms of psychology and mystery genres. For those who want a little something more, the terror picks up in the third act. Things never really get above a PG-13 level of scary, but sometimes that is all you need.
The plot is actually not that bad – Following an accident that leaves her crippled, Jessabelle “Jess” (Sarah Snook), returns to her childhood home with her father (David Andrews). It is during her stay there that she discovers video tapes for her made by her deceased mother (Joelle Carter). As she begins to recover more of the tapes, Jess finds herself being haunted by a vengeful spirit that is out to get her. Enlisting the help of her old friend Preston (Mark Webber), Jess sets out to uncover the secret of the home she thought she knew. Prior to viewing the film, my expectations were really low. It didn’t look bad, but it didn’t look exactly enticing either, but the production name attached to the film pleaded the fan boy inside me to give it a try! Yes, Blumhouse (BH) Productions, the makes behind the Paranormal Activity series, The Conjuring, Insidious series & The Purge series! The film suffers from being poorly paced, starting with a significant scare then regressing to nuanced mood changes and repeating the cycle a handful of times. There are very few scares in the movie and they are all jump scares.
The atmosphere set in the movie is quite well and despite a good pace of the story, somewhere along the line it seems as if the director forgot that its a horror movie. But apart from the obvious lack of horror elements, the movie still manages to captivate the interest of the viewer right till the end. Sarah Snook provides a very well-done performance as the title character, being in a wheel chair & conveying the required the emotions is a hard job! but here she was supposed to spot on. The rest of the cast, while not bad, doesn’t provide anything noteworthy due to the limited screen time. Overall Jessabelle may not be exactly original and takes a while to finally gain momentum, the film does end with a bang (yup a cool twist), and in the end provides a semi-interesting story, which may enthrall the general audience, but just like the other horror film this year (Annabelle, read my review here), may disappoint horror fans!
Director – Kevin Greutert
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 90 minutes