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Alexia Fast stars as eighteen-year-old Catholic girl Grace Hill, one of those beautiful, pure, virginal creations that only seem to exist in the movies. She is finding fitting in at college a bit of a handful, with her strict upbringing by her grandmother, being at odds with the social culture she is presented with as a freshman. It is here that a demon casually possesses Grace (and it's what we see through the demon's eyes that forms the movie's viewpoint) and she starts to experience black outs and nightmares unaware of the true evil that lies within.
Director Franck Khalfoun's 2012 Maniac remake took the bold stance of having everything filmed from the lead character's first person perspective, and it paid off making for an unsettling and effective horror flick. Writer and director Jeff Chan, making his feature film début here, has taken the same approach for Grace The Possession. In doing so Chan has created the most effective entry in the demonic sub-genre since Regan puked green stuff and did unsavoury things with a crucifix. It's certainly not in that film's league but it is a lot fresher than the many imitators that sprung up in the wake of that monster success, proving to be a decent evening's viewing with the odd twist to keep us on our toes.
Blake Lively stars as Nancy Adams, a medical student, who ends up fighting for her life after a shark attack leaves her stranded 200 yards from shore. And that's pretty much it for the plot. There's some puff about the secluded beach in Mexico Nancy is visiting being the same her recently deceased mother surfed at whilst pregnant with Nancy, but it's essentially about a young woman looks to outwit a great white shark and survive.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan) and written by Anthony Jaswinski The Shallows, originally to be entitled The Deep, confounded industry expectations, upon its US release, by taking twice as much as anticipated upon its opening weekend. It went on to made a tidy profit back, on its modest budget, and has been generally well received by critics. It's not hard to see why.
Co-writer/director Del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, produced by Pedro Almodovar, is arguably the most damning in terms of how humans treat each other and the lengths greed will push people to. At its core it remains a ghost story and a terrifically affecting one. First breaking into the audience consciousness with his 1993 film Cronos (Chronos), director Del Toro went to America and made the man-bug flick Mimic (1997), then one of the better second instalments with Blade II (2002) and one of the more enjoyable and less mainstream comic book adaptations with Hellboy (2004). The Devil’s Backbone remains his own personal favourite of his own movies, as it is strongly inspired by personal memories, primarily of his uncle who allegedly came back as a ghost and his own childhood experiences.
Del Toro says, ‘The knife fight, the rescuing of someone who was your enemy who then becomes your friend, the crush Carlos has on the kitchen maid, his night excursions for water echo the ones I used to make down the long corridors in my grandmother’s house and I even heard a ghost in exactly the same way it’s presented in the movie. When I was 11, I heard the ghost of my uncle sigh after he died in the room where he used to live. That’s why the spectre is referred to as ‘the one who sighs’...’
The year is 1630, the location New England and our focus a family who, after being banished from a Puritan plantation, opt to live out in the middle of nowhere and build a farm. Father William (Ralph Ineson) and wife (Kate Dickie) Katherine have five children, oops let's make that four, as no sooner has the family settled in their new abode than their newest born Samuel mysteriously disappears.
Baby Samuel has been stolen away by a witch who kills the infant using his blood and fat to make an ointment for her body. Everything starts unravelling for the family from this point on, crops fail, the family's black goat Black Phillip starts nattering to the family's twins and son Caleb (Harvey Grimshaw) goes missing in the woods.
Written and directed by Robert Eggers Sundance hit The Witch is surprising, occasionally shocking but never scary upon an initial viewing, however it has a resonance that will ensure that it will get under your skin and freak you out. Eggers milks unease and gloom from every beautifully framed image of his movie pulling no punches.
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- Grace The Possession (2014) Review
- The Shallows (2016) Review
- The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (2001) Review
- The Witch AKA The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015) Review
- Satan's Blade (1984) Review
- i-Lived (2015) Review
- Fragile (2005) Review
- Breathing Room (2008) Review
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- Doomwatch (1972) Review
- Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988) Review
- The Grudge 2 (2006) Review
- The Guardian (1990) Review
- Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966) Review
- Pulse (Kairo) (2001) Review