"SEE an exorcism - from the possessed's point of view!"
After a prolonged sabbatical, The Devil And All His Little Goblins have been making something of a cinematic comeback over the last few years. These movies have ranged from the accomplished (THE LAST EXORCISM) to the awful (THE RITE), from the stylish (THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE) to the stupid (THE RITE again). As the tag-line for MARK OF THE DEVIL II once put it - Exorcism Be Damned: The Devil Won’t Let Go! At least not while the box office takings are as good as they presumably must be.
One of the most recent offerings in the demonic possession movie subgenre is GRACE: THE POSSESSION, which offers a new (and actually rather original) spin by being shot almost entirely from first person point of view. There aren’t that many POV movies out there. In fact the only one I can think of is Franck Khalfoun’s excellent remake of MANIAC (2012). GRACE isn’t as good as that film, but it’s actually not bad at all, and certainly worth a look if devil movies are your thing.
Grace is born under difficult circumstances (which we get to see) and has a presumably closeted upbringing (which we don’t) by her mad Catholic grandmother Lin Shaye. She goes off to university where she meets boys, gets drunk, and sees herself turning into something scary when she looks in the mirror. After she hallucinates throwing her room-mate off a balcony, Grace ends up in hospital where a doctor specialising in Made Up Horror Medicine tells her she may have inherited psychotic tendencies from her mother. There’s only one cure, of course, which is to go back home to Grandma and get involved in local church activities.
The demon growing inside Grace (and leaving her with an ugly mess of a mark on her tummy) is quite happy with that, however, and once Grace is back home it’s the cue for it to run rampant as she finds out more about the identity of her mysterious father.
For most of its running time GRACE: THE POSSESSION isn’t bad. It’s not exactly special but it’s very competently made and keeps you watching. Where it gains major points, however, is the final twenty minutes, where we end up witness to a first person exorcism from Grace’s point of view. I won’t reveal how it turns out, but this is where the film becomes very special indeed. Even Joseph (INSIDIOUS) Bishara’s music, which up till this point has been fairly unremarkable ambient stuff, suddenly goes into Stanley Myers HOUSE OF MORTAL SIN overdrive and the denouement provides a very satisfying horror ending indeed. All this plus Joel David Moore and Jim from Neighbours as Catholic priests - what more could you want?
Sony’s DVD sadly comes with no extras apart from a ‘Languages’ option. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a ‘Speaking in Tongues’ option, but maybe we could have that for the sequel.
GRACE: THE POSSESSION is out now on Region 2 DVD from Sony Pictures