03rd Jun2019

Pass Horror Notes: ‘Possession Diaries’ Review

by Aaron Shakespeare

pass-horror-notes

POSSESSION DIARIES

Stars: Katherine Munroe , Delilah Cotto, Noel Gugliemi, James Russo, Johnny Ortiz, Eileen Dietz, Monica Engesser | Written by Juan Frausto, Rich Wealthy | Directed by Juan Frausto

Name: The Possession Diaries
Age: 2019

Appearance: Set in a single room, a woman named Rebecca (played by a rather intense Katherine Munroe) keeps a video diary of her possession by a demon after playing with an ouija board. Cue lots of spooky shenanigans.

The Possession Diaries. A full confession of a possession.

Possession Diaries. A full confession of a possession.

What? The whole film takes place in a single room?

Yes. Other than a couple of phone call scenes, pretty much all the action in Possession Diaries happens in one room with Rebecca staring at her webcam telling us and her followers all about her slow, very slow, possession.

What possessed them to do such a thing?

Well done. There are plenty of horror films set in a single location, such as Xavier Gens’ The Divide and Mikael Håfström’s 1408, and when done well, they can be claustrophobic and suspenseful. It’s when they are not done well that you have a problem.

I suspect from your tone that there was “a problem”

Well, there are some nice spooky moments and the occasional acting flourish from Katherine Munroe but we also get moments of boredom, poor acting from the supporting cast and a couple of jarring surreal dream sequences that break the claustrophobia. And don’t get me started with the devil ringing up to announce his evil intentions in a voice that sounds like he smokes 40 fags a day.

I always imagined the devil being a pipe smoker. So, tell us about this confession of a possession?

After an overwrought prologue featuring a nameless, unidentified woman yelling “you’ll never take MY SOUL!” We are introduced to Rebecca who informs us that this is not a movie and that she isn’t an actress. Obviously this isn’t true but I suppose it’s there to break the fourth wall and help with the suspension of disbelief.

It sounds very ‘found footage-y’.

It sort of is but the fourth wall springs right back up the when we get incidental music, a prologue, over-the-top acting and a dream sequence featuring a hulking shadow emerging through a red mist, which I presume is the demon that torments her.

Hang on. If she is keeping a vlog, then why do we see her dreams. Has Google really reached that far?

The film lurches from a ‘what you’re about to see is real’ schtick to ‘well, actually this is all just a film. Sorry about that’.

Tell us about Rebecca and her woes. Surely there is some scary stuff going on. You promised.

What I did like is that we follow the possession as it slowly takes her over. Not only do we get paranormal activity style bumps and groans happening in the background but she starts to physically change as well. There are some great atmospheric moments too, like when the demon fully takes her over and it talks to the audience through the webcam before handing back to Rebecca who naturally responds in fear and confusion. Possession Diaries has some lovely ideas running through it but it is the execution of those ideas that many will have an issue with. Let’s take Rebecca’s boyfriend Dante (played by Johnny Ortiz) as an example.

Her boyfriend is called Dante?

At first, he seems like a nice enough lad. He visits Rebecca during her vlogging, promising to support her whatever and calls her ‘babes’ in a way that is so not patronising at all. Then when Rebecca has a demonic episode and raises a knife at him, he suddenly goes all, “wha’ d’fuk you kerazzy ass bitch’ and breaks up with her without even questioning why his once gentle girlfriend goes all violent. A pointless character who is only there to serve a very clunky twist at the end.

A Divine Comedy would be vastly improved if Dante had screamed “wha d’fuk!”

The Possession Diaries would be vastly improved if it had a script that followed its ideas through and had tighter characterisation, unlike Madame Esmeralda (Monica Engesser).

What did she ever do?

She is a medium who spends her time flapping her arms, gasping her lines and shifting about as if she were a hippy at Woodstock, leaving some to wonder what her purpose in the story is. You also get a random friend, the never-before-mentioned Andrew (Carl Washington) who suddenly visits and announces that, “this is some evil shit you got here” and that he is “all into this paranormal shit”. When given the ouijia board, Andrew promises to “burn this fucker to the ground”. He then buggers off and we never see him again.

Do we get an exorcism at least?

Yes. Father Brian (James Russo) arrives. He says a prayer, throws some water and punches Rebecca. As exorcists go, he is pretty shit.

Did you think Possession Diaries is worth possessing your time?

The central idea is good, and there are some occasional creepy moments, which many seasoned horror fans will enjoy but, let’s face it, there are better possession films out there.
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Do say: Watch The Possession Diaries. The power of Christ compels you!
Don’t say: The Possession Diaries? It will swallow your soul.

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