Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ava’s Possessions (2015)

Number Rolled: 15
Movie Name/Year: Ava’s Possessions (2015)
Tagline: She can handle her spirits.
Genre: Horror
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: ODD NY, Off Hollywood Pictures, Ravenous Films, Traction Media
Producer: Bronwyn Cornelius, Jordan Galland, Mike Landry, Maren Olson, Mark L. Pederson, Aldey Sanchez, Gregory P. Shockro, Carlos Velazquez, Douglas Weiser, Isaac Wilkins
Director: Jordan Galland
Writer: Jordan Galland
Actors: Alysia Reiner, Carol Kane, Jemima Kirke, William Sadler, Dan Fogler, John Ventimiglia, Whitney Able, Lou Taylor Pucci, Louisa Krause, Joel de la Fuente, Deborah Rush, Wass Stevens, Zachary Booth, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Geneva Carr, Olivia Anton, Erik Potempa

Blurb from Netflix: A young woman joins a support group for survivors of demonic possession to help her recover from a recent exorcism and expose her repressed memories.

Selina’s Point of View:
This movie was both creative and kind of odd.

I’ll start with why it was creative. Ava’s Possessions is a brilliant twist on a very familiar exorcism recipe.

Instead of predictably showing us how she was taken over and all her crimes and her exorcism, this film focused more on what happens after the exorcism is over. We wound up starting with a main character that’s just been saved from a demonic possession and is left to pick up the pieces of the life she ruined. She remembers nothing and part of what the movie goes into is her trying to remember everything that happened.

In many ways it reminds me of a film I watched… I think in the first year of this blog. That movie was called ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2006).

ZA followed the story of a woman who was shot and killed by her boyfriend. That’s not a spoiler because it happens in the first five to ten minutes of the movie. The plot isn’t about why she was shot or how she died, it’s about her trying to come to terms with being a zombie in a world that knows zombies exist.

Ava’s Possessions was a much higher quality film than the B-movie it reminded me of. It had decent actors as well.

Moving on, however, I found the pacing to be weird. Not too slow or too fast, but not quite right either. I also thought some of the direction was a little off-putting. When the movie was over and I saw who the writer/director was, I understood.

Jordan Galland (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, Green Umbrella, Smile for the Camera) isn’t one of the most experienced writer/directors out there. That being said, he was responsible for a film I watched a while back that I absolutely adored: Alter Egos (2012). That movie was also on the strange side and had a weird pacing, but I fell in love with it anyway. Sometimes that just happens.

Despite my history with enjoying Galland’s work, it didn’t quite translate to Ava’s Possessions. The film wasn’t bad, but it left me feeling confused and unfulfilled.

I’m not sure I’ll be watching this movie again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I got excited about this movie back when we had it in our top twenty for the month it was released. It seemed like it was going to add a layer of dark humor to the horror of the possession narrative.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing here. I still liked the movie. It was sprinkled liberally with the comedic element I was expecting. At the same time, it was more of a mystery than a horror movie.

The film somewhat felt like a toned down darker version of Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000) except the main character wasn’t wasted and high – she was possessed.

That actually worked for me, for the most part, once I got into that groove.

Louisa Krause (King Kelly, Bare, The Abandoned) was a new name and face for me. Her performance was solid as the bewildered victim of possession. I’ll have to keep an eye out for her other work in the future.

There were some familiar faces in the film for me as well. I have to say that the role of Hazel was a great fit for Annabelle Dexter-Jones (Missed Connections, Asthma, The Nymphets). This was definitely a better use of her talent than the frenetic #Horror (2015).

Carol Kane (The Pacifier, Sleepwalk With Me, Gotham) had a small, but important, role in this film. She had me grinning and all warm with nostalgia. Fans of The Princess Bride (1987) might understand why when you watch the movie.

I had to giggle a bit, though, at Joel de la Fuente (Law & Order: SVU, Forgetting the Girl, Julia) playing a character named Escobar in this film. The only role I’d seen him in before was on Hemlock Grove (2013-2015) and it was an interesting juxtaposition.

All in all, this movie was entertaining. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good (if slightly predictable) mystery.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 64%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 47%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

The Random Rating: R

P.S. John Ventimiglia (Sopranos, Money Monster, The Iceman) is NOT related to Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gilmore Girls, Pathology).

Movie Trailer:

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