MOVIE REVIEW: Jessabelle

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Arriving quietly on home video is Kevin Greutart’s JESSABELLE, a film that couldn’t be much further from the director’s previous works. Having helmed the final two chapters in the SAW series, the director/editor tries his hand at a softer film, one that takes it’s time building the tension before unleashing an onslaught of scares upon his audience. It doesn’t exactly play out quite like the description but the picture is most definitely above average due to some great performances, interesting characters, and some nifty cheap thrills to help make this a worthwhile endeavor and a chance for Greutart to show audiences he can successfully handle more than just the torture porn.

Jessie (Sarah Snook) is about to take a huge adult leap and move in with her boyfriend when the unthinkable happens. They’re broadsided by a semi truck, killing him and leaving her in a wheelchair. While having to deal with her grief, she will also have to learn how to walk again. She’s forced to move back into her childhood home to be taken care of by her father while trying to heal from the accident. Jessie never knew her mother (she died shortly after giving birth) and discovers a videotape with her name on it in her mother’s bedroom. She doesn’t waste any time popping the tape in and watches her mother for the first time. In the video, her mother professes her love and decides to give her a tarot card reading and the results are not very good. When her father catches Jessie watching the video he becomes enraged. Shortly after he dies as well in a freak fire accident. Jessie is left to fend for herself until her old high school friend Preston (Mark Webber) shows up to help her. She soon learns there’s an evil force inside the home and the only way to put it to rest is to learn the truth about her mother and her own birth.

I can guarantee you that within the next couple of years most of you will have heard the name Sarah Snook. She’s a fantastic actress and proves it in this film. It’s because of her and how much we end up caring about her character, keeping you invested in the film. There’s several moments in the where it gets mudded down a bit but you will still want to see how it all ends. For me, the only true disappointment was the finale. It just sort of felt like it ended too soon and the real fun was left for us to ponder about instead of delivering. There’s a couple of nice jump-scares, solid make-up effects, compelling characters, and it utilized the VHS tape as a plot device, you’ve got to love that. While the film may be uneven, it still delivers what it should and is far better than similar product currently lining the video store shelves (I know, video stores are almost extinct but I’m not willing to let them or the idea of them go without a fight). So give this one a chance when it arrives on Blu-Ray, DVD, and VOD January 13, 2015.