Hot Garbage | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Hot Garbage

Hey look! A terrible possession movie!

Hot Garbage
Courtesy of Sony
I've seen scarier episodes of "Glee."

I guess it's always nice to start with a compliment, so...I guess "The Possession of Hannah Grace" has a few nice moments balancing shadow with light and silence with jump scares. A better director could have crafted an entire movie for the legitimate creepiness found in those few solitary moments.

Instead we have this: "The Possession of Hannah Grace," not to be confused with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" or "The Haunting of Molly Hartley." But who is Hannah Grace? Maybe she's an interesting enough character to carry a movie? Nope. Hannah Grace is possessed by a demon or a ghost or possibly a leprechaun (we never find out) and is suffocated by her father in the first scene in the film.

What a perfect analogy for the entire film: We never get to know Hannah Grace as a person, only as a lifeless shell inhabited by a smirking demon not scary enough to frighten the most squeamish of folk. Kind of like how this movie is a lifeless shell of the better exorcism movies that have come before. The scariest thing here is probably the catering budget.

Hannah Grace's body is brought to the morgue and taken care of by Megan Reed (a solid Shay Mitchell), a tortured ex-cop battling her own demons and an addiction to booze and painkillers. Reed is the late-night intake person, so she spends the silent hours with this dead, naked girl whose wounds are slowly healing as the night wears on.

It's not a terrible premise (although "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" also did the same thing, to much better effect), but it's never used properly. Reed is battling so many of her own personal issues that it felt inevitable that she would distrust her own eyes as things progressively get spookier at the morgue, but there's never a moment of her distrusting her own reality. When bad things happen, she believes in the supernatural almost instantly.

Sadly, we've still got so much stupid that all goodwill dissipates almost instantly. Cops dropping their service weapons next to creepy demon girls? Check. Terrible computer-generated fire? Check. Is that a "scary" rubber band ball? Sure is. Lemme guess: the finale will be set around the incinerator? Yup.

Calling this movie hot garbage does a disservice to things that are warm and made of trash. "The Possession of Hannah Grace" is lazy, stupid and profoundly un-frightening. The movie doesn't even deserve a theatrical release. Instead, it should have been relegated to that Netflix section of movies that exist, but you like yourself too much to watch.

The Possession of Hannah Grace
Dir. Diederik Van Rooijen
Grade: F
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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