Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Macabro ’15: Ava’s Possessions
Maybe you do not feel like a twelve step
program after having a demon exorcised from your body, but the fact that its
run by the Catholic Church should give it credibility. After all, it’s a little
too late for agnosticism. Those that do not enroll potentially face prosecution
for the crimes their bodies committed while demonically possessed. Ava Dopkins
pragmatically opts for group therapy in Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions (trailer here), which screens as the opening night selection of this year’s
Macabro, the International Horror Film Festival in Mexico City.
When Dopkins comes to, Father Merrino is
praying over her and her mother is sporting a conspicuous eye patch. These are
both bad signs. Despite the incredibleness of it all, she soon accepts the fact
that she was possessed. Unfortunately, she has a lot of fence mending to do.
Seeking amends is also part of the Church’s program. Tony, their street-smart
hipster councilor also teaches them techniques to ward of re-possession.
However, at least one of her fellow group-members misses the feelings of power
and arousal that came with her demonic guest.
Although she really should know better,
Dopkins will help her rebellious friend perform a wildly ill-advised ceremony.
Unfortunately, the results will further complicate her efforts to find a
mysterious older gentleman, who may or may not be the source of the unsettling
blood stains in her living room.
Possessions sounds like another Exorcist spoof, like the amusingly meathead-ish
Bad Exorcists, but Galland takes the
clever concept and spins out a fully developed narrative, building up a serious
head of paranoia in the third act. For a horror mash-up, it is pretty darned
creepy, representing a dramatic step up from his inventive but inconsistent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead.
Galland gets a major assist from the perfectly
cast Louisa Krause, who hits all the right sarcastic, confused, and angry notes
as Dopkins. As an effective counterweight, Wass Stevens is all kinds of badness
as Tony. Possessions also comes fully
stocked with colorful supporting turns from the likes of William Sadler, Dan
Fogler, and Carol Kane, as Dopkins’ father, her attorney, and a paranormal
bookstore proprietor, respectively.
finds a way to make a case of demonic possession even more disturbing, while
generating a fair amount of laughs. Frankly, Eva’s Possessions is probably the film that most closely approximates
the vibe of the Buffy and Angel television series. It is witty and
self-aware, but it is all business when the dark forces strike. Highly recommended
for horror fans, Ava’s Possessions continues
its festival run tonight (8/19) and Friday (8/21), as part of the 2015 edition
Labels: Horror Movies, Macabro '15