Possession movies aren’t necessarily my favorite types of movies. I admit that The Exorcist is a damn fine film that is shocking and terrifying at times, but I think it’s pacing is a bit slow for my tastes. (i repeat: it’s a damn fine movie. don’t run me out of town on a rail) So, when I got an e-mail about Ava’s Possessions, my heart didn’t skip a beat with joy or anything of that sort. In fact, I wasn’t sure I’d watch/review it until I got the second e-mail about it and thought, “what the hell” and “why not”. It is with that fiery passion that I write for you, dear reader. You’re welcome. (oh, the movie turned out to be pretty good (see below))
Ava wakes from a rough night with some memory loss. Actually, it’s more like a rough month. See, she’s been possessed by a bit of a nasty demon (or uninvited spiritual visitor) for four weeks. She’s facing some jail time now that she’s dispossessed (i know that’s not what that means) due to her indiscretions while under the influence. She opts to join a possession anonymous program instead to avoid said jail time. She must make amends to those she’s wrong in true 12-step program fashion. She hopes that doing so will put the pieces of her forgotten month together. That sets her on a dangerous path as she tracks down ATM users, hitmen, and prostitutes; gets attacked (multiple times) by a black-eyed pimp; and gets too chummy with a possession addict who turns out to be a less-than-good influence on her.
First, let me point out that poster. (not something I do usually, but bear with me) “The Hangover but with a lot more demons” and a pun about spirits. This angle would lead you to believe that this is a riotous comedy with demons or some shit. It’s not. I don’t mean that as a criticism. (i get that The Hangover guys were piecing their blackout night together) Oddly, a movie doesn’t have to be a horror comedy in order to be good. I’m not even sure that horror comedies are popular enough to warrant misleading audiences in that direction for (presumably) higher VOD returns. (is ‘returns’ even correct?) I do realize that implying that the persons responsible for the advertising and signing off on the advertising were “misleading” audiences is making assumptions that may not be true. (that covers me against libel, right?) Either way, I hope that strategy doesn’t backfire for them, because Ava’s Possessions is a great twist on the possession sub-genre. (and, sure, it’s sometimes funny) It focuses not on the blister-faced, scary-eyed convulsions and growls of active possession (though there is some of that), but on the aftermath of a lengthy possession. This fresh perspective shows us the hassles of having alienated your friends and family, assaulted strangers, and (possibly) killed someone. Ava is endearingly committed to making things right despite the harsh judgment and blame she gets from everyone around her. (analogy? hmm) Her quest so seamlessly becomes a mystery that it has viewers trying to guess the next steps before they even realize they are doing what they do any time they watch a good mystery. Ave’s Possessions just happens to be a mystery with some great makeup effects, a talking teddy bear (but, fortunately, not a wise-cracking teddy), and a drum-beating demon. In other words, it’s pretty damn good.
The Final Cut: Ava’s Possessions is a fresh twist on the possession film. Ava’s quest to pick up the pieces of her post-possesion life is a treacherous puzzle that audiences will have fun putting together. (unlike a real puzzle)