Movie Review - Grace: The Possession
Jeff Chan's debut feature length film, Grace: The Possession, is shot entirely in POV format, but with an extremely inventive twist on the style: there are no cameras. We see everything through the eyes of the titular character, Grace. In fact, the only time we see her face is when she looks in the mirror. We even see the flutter of her eyelids when she blinks and complete darkness when she closes her eyes. As far as I know this is the first film to attempt this, and it actually works quite well. The film is also among a metric ton of other demonic possession movies released this year, each with their own spin on the genre. And where Inner Demons explored the horrors of drug addiction, and The Taking of Deborah Logan framed its' narrative against the mental collapse of a woman afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease, Grace: The Possession deals with the moral and social stigmas associated with underage sex. Though that isn't to say this film is preachy, it' isn't that kind of a movie.
Grace is a young girl who lives with her extremely overprotective religious fanatic of a grandmother, who seems to be punishing Grace for her mother's teenage indiscretions. Before Grace heads off to college, her grandmother gives her a strong warning against the dangers of leading a promiscuous lifestyle. But not long after arriving at school, she succumbs to the pitfalls of the college experience and begins drinking, smoking marijuana, and getting overly flirty with boys. But after a frightening episode, her grandmother pulls her from classes and turns to the church for assistance. At first the priests and Grace's family chalk her behavior up to the hormones of a teenage girl, but it soon becomes apparent that something much more sinister is behind the madness.
The overbearing Christian mother is a recurring theme in horror films, and veteran Lin Shaye shines in the role of Helen, Grace's domineering grandmother. And Alexia Fast is wonderfully timid in the titular role, effortlessly playing the awkwardness of a teenager finding her sexuality. Director Jeff Chan's vivid visual style suits the story well, and he fills the movie with plenty of jump scares. But the movie never really manages to scare us on a deeper level, and the film ends up resorting to some tired tricks and unnecessary CGI effects. It's certainly an entertaining movie, but fails to make a lasting impression.
Grace: The Possession has a bold visual style and some noteworthy performances, but certainly the most memorable thing about the film is the unique twist on the POV format. The film is now available on VOD and DVD, and if you're a fan of the genre, it is enjoyable enough to recommend. Cheers.
- Leo Francis