Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter
Poster of 'Jessabelle'. Pic/Santa Banta
Thanks to 'The Conjuring', the exorcism genre has found a new lease of life. It's like the way Hollywood couldn't stop making dinosaur related films after 'Jurassic Park', it seems the audience can't have enough exorcism movies now.
The cash grabby folks behind 'The Conjuring' decided to make 'Annabelle', which was a terrible movie but was commercially successful – and it looks like some other people decided to ride the wave by making 'Jessabelle'. It's also from the same production house as the one which made 'Sinister' and 'The Purge', sadly not everything they throw at the wall sticks.
The film is directed by Kevin Greutert, who previously made 'Saw VI' and 'Saw 3D', so the quality of 'Jessabelle' is exactly as you expect it to be. Greutert has improved upon the aesthetics because of the moderately higher budget, but the sheer lack of innovation in this film is hilarious. Jessie (Sarah Snook), after facing paralysis due to a car accident, moves in to her childhood home near a swamp in Louisiana. It's no longer the home the way she remembered it – now it's rotting to the core. Just like in 'Sinister' she discovers a collection of VHS tapes and a bunch of tarot cards through which her deceased mother tries to contact her. As expected, an evil spirit enters her world and begins hunting her.
Why the ghost in the movie wants to kill Jessie remains a mystery even after the movie is over. Jessie is attacked over and over again, each scare becoming more unintentionally funny that the prior. The cheap, crummy style of the scares is also exactly what has ruined the essence of modern horror cinema. When you know what is going to happen in the next scene, there is little you can do but wait for the groan-inducing scare to pass by. To make things worse, there is some laughably bad romance to drive the narrative, and there's the usual stock of 'couple in danger' scares as well. Snook is a great enough actress to still retain some dignity despite the foolishness of the film. She was the star of the highly underrated 'Predestination', and hopefully she picks more of those films rather than any more of this one.