Spoilers follow ...
- Grace: The Possession review by NP
Alexia Fast plays Grace, a virginal, sweet, repressed girl who may or may not be in the possession of a demon. At first, her induction into college is trouble free, but what with hallucinations of death, feinting spells, nightmares and an inability to truly ‘fit in’ (despite her best efforts), she is soon taken back to her home, and her puritanical, purse-lipped grandmother who has long since been her Guardian. Poor Grace is barked at, shouted at, talked down to, bullied and ordered around against her will, before the inner evil she carries is let out in a climactic finale which exposes the reasons for the demon’s mission of retribution.
What sets this apart from virtually every other horror film I’ve seen is that everything is seen from Grace’s point-of-view: we are her eyes, we see first-hand how she is treated, we feel her pain. At first, this threatens to be a clumsy way of story-telling (the only times we actually see Grace is in her reflection in mirrors, the rest of Fast’s performance – apart from vocal – is the nervous ringing of her hands and fiddling with her dress to demonstrate unease), but very soon, we have become used to this painstakingly achieved way of telling a solid possession story.
The cast are great. Apart from the excellent Fast, there is Lin Shaye as the shrew of a Grandmother (herself an outcast from her fellow church-goers) and Alan Dale as Father John, the man ultimately responsible for all that is happening. His drowning in holy water is too mild a punishment for him.
The exorcism at the end, where effects come to the fore, still being shown from Grace’s POV, nearly lapsea into cartoon CGI, but manages to avoid that before an ‘Exorcist (1973)’-style denouement.
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