Monday, July 11, 2016

The Exorcism Was the Easy Part

Netflix Instant is always abuzz with interesting horror titles, but when one involves William Demon Knight Sadler and Carol "The Goddess" Kane, I'm a pretty easy target.

Quick Plot: Ava has just undergone a successful exorcism after being possessed by a wily demon for over a month. Unfortunately, recovery is a little more challenging than Regan MacNeil ever revealed.

Turns out, while possessed, Ava did some rather unpleasant things, including, but not limited to, sleeping with her friend's boyfriend, pissing off a pimp, indecent exposure, and criminal assault. Her fairly understanding lawyer has come up with a plea bargain that puts Ava in a sort of AA-like support group instead of prison.

It doesn't take long for Ava to learn that moving past a demonic possession is almost as hard as the process of hosting a demon. It's especially challenging when Ava tries to fill in some of the holes in her memory, tracking down the owner of a watch (and possibly, massive blood stains) she finds in her apartment. The investigation leads her down a dangerous path, and not just because it involves Carol Kane.

Written and directed by Jordan Galland, Ava's Possessions is more black comedy than horror, and it equips itself well. Lead actress Louisa Krause is quite engaging, and it helps that she's surrounded by genre vets like William Sadler, Spring's Lou Taylor Pucci, and Monsters' Whitney Able. Rarely is the humor full-out belly laugh, but it's built on small moments that set a very clear and specific tone. When Ava sadly discovers the fate of her pet fish or asks if anyone thought to call in sick to her job while a priest was working her over for a few weeks, it gave me a chuckle.

Over the course of 40 years, we've all seen our share of movies about possession. Ava's Possessions smartly builds on that, wasting no time with its audience in rehashing what we've come to expect from the genre. Instead, it takes the event we've seen done dozens of times and says, "what's next?", exploring it with a solidly playful tone. It falters a little in its ending, partially because that endearing levity gets a tad too bogged down. Nevertheless, it's a fun and breezy watch that brings something new to well-worn territory.

High Points
Garland does an excellent job of establishing such a clear and consistent tone from the start

Low Points
The aforementioned ending, which twists things a little too darkly for the lighter tone the film had set

Lessons Learned
Pregnancy is probably prettier than possession

Nothing celebrates being demon-free better than an ice cold glass of Orange Crush

Marijuana is a gateway drug ... to hell


Ava’s Possessions isn’t perfect, but it’s a fun little slice of genre mixing that makes for a lightly enjoyable 90 minute watch. Give it a go when you want something on the fluffier side. 


  1. I stumbled on this one a while back... so no expectations or anything. It started out pretty good... but yeah, ran out of steam/ideas/something by the end. The mystery plotline was the least interesting... I wanted more about the various support group characters.

    1. For me, I just didn't need to tread so heavy into "Oh, I guess we have to be a horror movie and not just a horror comedy" territory. I was enjoying the mystery because it brought in some good characters, but I just didn't need those final stabs of seriousness at the end.