Reviews: Jessabelle

Shayne rocks out another horror review. This time it's that freaky chick, Jessabelle.

"I just love bath time."

In a slew of major horror releases that all seem to blend together into one big movie of the same old tired nonsense, Kevin Greutert’s Jessabelle stood out and looked as if it were different enough to break the streak. Well it was different all right – and that is not a compliment.

What starts off as a somewhat intriguing and rather creepy story quickly flies off the rails and explodes into a fiery mess that takes out all bystanders. Within the first few scenes, there are some moments that will make your skin crawl and they are filmed and edited so nicely that for a quick second, your expectations go up for the rest of the film. These expectations are quickly shot down as we chug through the rest of this incoherent travesty of a storyline. The pacing of the film makes no sense whatsoever and nothing flows together as it should. As scenes progress, you’ll often find yourself thinking, “wait, why are they doing this? Weren’t they just….??". It feels almost as if someone had lost pages of the script and didn’t bother filling in any holes. Don’t even bother trying to figure out why the writers felt it necessary to have a love story tacked onto a film that already can’t find its identity as a horror film, let alone a romance story.

"I just love boat time!"
The acting doesn’t do the film any favors either, as our cast is clearly being forced to play the typical down south country bumpkin types with very little success. The lead, Sarah Snook, can’t seem to find her way as a leading lady and her performance varies from scene to scene. I found that depending on the scene her accent noticeably fluctuates and completely takes away any believability that she’s from the South. The score and sound design are equally as bad and sometimes almost offensive. Aside from one frightening scene that deals with footsteps, nothing within the sound design creates a suspenseful atmosphere. While this is enough disappointment in and of itself, the tacky an uninspired music layered over the top make things even worse. One aspect of the film that is done very well however is the makeup design. All praise goes to the makeup department as our haunter entity looks daunting and spine chilling.

With Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious) producing, Jessabelle looked like she had a fighting chance to hold her own and scare theaters full of audiences everywhere. Instead, we’re left with a not so scary bargain bin film that’s badly written, laughably scored and blandly acted.

-Shayne McGuire