‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ review: A dull kind of dark

Stubbornness is a trait that is shared by all of the miserable characters of Diederik Van Rooijen’s The Possession of Hannah Grace. In fact, the film itself seems smitten with stubbornness, relying on repetitive scares and shock tactics to make its way towards its unsatisfying conclusion.

Stubborn state of disfiguration

Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson) dies in the beginning of the film, smothered by his desperate father (Louis Herthum) after a botched attempt by two Catholic priests to exorcise a nasty demon out of her writhing body.

For the rest of the film, she’s a cadaver in a stubborn state of disfiguration. She’s also stubbornly wanting to be alive, murdering the unfortunate midnight shifters of a city morgue to slowly but surely regain her body back. What is most frustrating about the film’s lone supernatural villain is that her methods for terror aren’t particularly spectacular.

She relies on noises, cracking and creaking sounds that telegraph her evil motives, before engaging in some unintelligible rampage that leads to a minor character’s grisly demise.

It is up to Megan Reed (Shey Mitchell), the ex-cop who lands the unglamorous job of tending to the morgue where Hannah Grace’s creepy corpse ends up, to uncover the mystery and defeat evil with an absurd mixture of stubborn curiosity and stubborn stupidity.

Yes, she is also stubborn.

FEAR. Shay Mitchell stars in the movie as Megan, an ex-cop who is now in charge of the morgue.

FEAR. Shay Mitchell stars in the movie as Megan, an ex-cop who is now in charge of the morgue.

With her morgue’s high tech gadgets, she takes pictures of the mysterious cadaver and the machine’s robotic voice declares that something’s wrong. She repeats and repeats and never gets the message that something is afoul. She disregards warnings, from the madman who relentlessly pleads that she burn the body to her disappearing buddies. She is a heroine that is too dull and dumb to be engaging. She is just a sorely unappealing center of a film that desperately clings for any kind of attachment.

Depravity and demons

With a title that has a word that teases of depravity and demons, the film should at least evoke a permeating sense of dread throughout. Instead, The Possession of Hannah Grace indulges in the dull kind of dark.

Nothing sticks in the film.

The scares whittle. The characters either perish or are immediately forgotten as soon as the end credits roll. There isn’t anything in the film that makes it stand out. Its plot is derivative, with its heroine suffering from the most cliché of professional struggles.

Simply put, the film is just a torturous slog and it refuses to repay its audience’s patience with its tired gimmickry with any novel pleasures.

DARK AND CREEPY. Megan must fight the evil possessing Hannah Grace.

DARK AND CREEPY. Megan must fight the evil possessing Hannah Grace.

Stale and disposable

The Possession of Hannah Grace is both stale and disposable.

Don’t be stubborn since there really isn’t anything much to miss in this unimaginative horror film. Avoid this horror film like one would avoid a rotting corpse. – Rappler.com


Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.

Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.