[Screen It]


(2018) (Shay Mitchell, Kirby Johnson) (R)

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Horror: A former cop must contend with a corpse that's possessed by a demonic entity when it shows up in the hospital morgue where she now works.
Megan Reed (SHAY MITCHELL) is a former Boston police officer who had a breakdown and fell into addiction when her cop partner was shot dead. Now trying to get her life back together, and with her boyfriend cop, Andrew Kurtz (GREY DAMON), having just moved out of her place, Megan takes a job working the nighttime shift at a local hospital morgue where her AA counselor, Lisa Roberts (STANA KATIC), works as a nurse. With no one else there beyond security guards Dave (MAX McNAMARA) and Ernie (JACOB MING-TRENT), Megan must accept, photograph and fingerprint bodies brought into the facility by ambulance drivers such as Randy (NICK THUNE).

One such badly mangled and partially burned body is that of Hannah Grace (KIRBY JOHNSON), a young woman who -- unbeknownst to anyone there -- actually died three months ago when her father, Grainger (LOUIS HERTHUM), smothered her to death. He did so during an exorcism where priests tried to extract the demon from her, only to have one be killed and another nearly suffering the same fate. But as strange things start happening in the morgue, Megan wonders if what she's seeing is real, a manifestation of her PTSD, or just her imagination run wild.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Playing out somewhat akin to a "greatest horror film hits" amalgamation, this offering features some decent moments of suspense and jump scares scattered throughout. But the filmmakers have lifted so many elements from past horror flicks (an exorcism, a body that creaks and contorts, a bouncing ball that shows up seemingly by itself, motion sensor lights that go off and have to be reactivated, and on and on) that everything starts feeling more recycled than fresh, original or interesting.

And it also has material that simply doesn't make any sense (both in the moment and later in hindsight), while everything ultimately start to unravel during the third act when the stakes have to be raised (and the frights end up progressively diminished).

I've seen worse, but I've also seen far better, and "The Possession of Hannah Grace" doesn't offer up enough get-under-your-skin scares to offset the borrowing and stealing of concepts and scenes from other such flicks. It rates as a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed November 29, 2018 / Posted November 30, 2018

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