I have a strong liking for horror films. I have watched so many of them that in order to please me, they now need newer themes and presentation styles. I came to know about Jessabelle this week and gave it my 90 minutes today. It is a film that can be categorised in the found-footage genre, but has more to it. I am not particularly pleased with it, but it isn’t bad either.
Jessabelle is about Jessie (Sarah Snook) who after a tragic accident returns to her dad’s place. She lost her mom when she was a baby and has no siblings. She lived her childhood at her auntie’s house. On her return, a wheel-chair bound Jessie is accommodated in her mom’s bedroom and from the very first night there, she starts sighting a woman in the house. She accidentally uncovers a few video tapes stashed away in her mom’s room, which contain some messages her mom has left for her. When her dad comes to know about this, he attempts to destroy the tapes by burning them, but in the process suffers fatal burns. Jessie, with the help of her ex-boyfriend sets out to unravel the signs she receives and her findings form the rest of the story.
The film offers very little in terms of freshness either in its theme or approach. It is a mix of several films we have seen in the same genre, and has an overload of used images encapsulated in the final few moments. The film indeed has a nice little suspense towards the end, but it was all done in a haste. It will be a disappointment if you want to watch it for some new horror symbols.
Sarah Snook does well as Jessie, but somehow the script didn’t give her enough space to show her emotions on losing some of her dear ones. Among the others, only Mark Webber and Joelle Carter had some life in their characters. Although he has decent experience in handling horror themes, the director Kevin Greutert could not utilise even the darkness to full effect, and it was plain boring to see the cliched horror plots in a bath tub or a bayou. In short, even though the film is not a bad watch, it had the potential to be made in a better way. My rating – 5/10.
Image: Poster image used for the film’s promotion.