The Possession Diaries Review: Don’t Watch It

May 11, 2019
Alix Turner 0
Film, Film Reviews
1.5

Summary

A dreadful found-footage film about a young woman who records her possession experiences, in the hope of proving she isn’t crazy.

1.5

Summary

A dreadful found-footage film about a young woman who records her possession experiences, in the hope of proving she isn’t crazy.

It’s not going to be easy to review The Possession Diaries; not because I’m stuck for what to say but because I don’t know how to say it nicely. Here goes: The Possession Diaries is a dreadful film. I’m not prepared to rewatch either this or Loophole to work out which is worse (though the quality and issues with both are similar) and I wouldn’t advise anyone else to either.

The Possession Diaries is about young Rebecca (Katherine Munroe, in her first role) who is recording video diaries in her room in the hope of producing evidence that she is gradually being possessed (by the Devil himself!). At the start of the film, Rebecca owns up to having used a Ouija board a few days earlier and having released something nasty into the world, but no-one she’s told about this believes her: hence the vlog. The film follows her experiences over the following few days, which include spooky visitations, her face gradually taking on a Deadite appearance, and threatening phone calls from the Devil.

Yeah, not only does he take his time possessing her – no human one minute, demonic the next, like in The Last Exorcism, for example – but he actually uses the telephone to announce his intentions. That was the first element that sealed my disdain for this film, though it started in the prologue when an overacting woman (it was never quite clear who she was) yelled various things at an invisible tormentor such as “you’ll never take my soul!”; and I thought I need a reason to suspend my disbelief before being presented with dialogue like that. I guess what I’m saying is that the film suffered from the poor plot and poor writing… though there’s more…

Most of the acting is poor too, or at least just lazy, but even those who acted well could not show it because of how sloppily their characters had been written. A couple of the cast have been known for TV and film roles (I’m thinking of the priest, played by James Russo, and Rebecca’s Aunt Peggy, played by Eileen Dietz), but Johnny Ortiz (who played Rebecca’s boyfriend, Dante) was pretty much unknown, and frankly amateur. All those three were so two dimensional – at best – that they would have been more at home in a handmade comic than a feature film. Rebecca’s character was tiresome: right from the start, when she whined about nobody believing her, I was begging for her to get more interesting; instead, she just became more miserable. Something tells me Munroe has decent acting in her, but this part just didn’t give her the chance to show it.

And just when I was thinking Rebecca Clarkson defined an awful horror role, I was then presented with – wait for it – Madame Esmeralda. Don’t get me started on her!

Anyway, The Possession Diaries is essentially a found footage film, though with a prologue and score added. I like found footage, as a rule: there is plenty of scope to get the audience sucked into the situation like they are experiencing it. However, there are countless better examples than this. If you want to see a film in which someone records their own experiences of being possessed, there’s a better one of those too: The Possession of Michael King, which was damn scary in parts, because of the quality of the acting, the production and how realistic the whole thing felt. The Possession Diaries had many elements which pulled me right out of the film (you know, like a found footage film shouldn’t), so any good qualities it had just didn’t count at that point. For example, the way Rebecca’s face changes throughout the film (and not just during her out-of-it spells) looked more like Halloween zombie make-up than anything I’d previously seen in possession films. Why would the Devil let his victim (never mind the rest of the world) know what he was up to? Have we got poltergeists, ghosts or demons visiting? Oh and the acting and the writing, of course.

The Possession Diaries was directed by Juan Frausto; though I saw very little evidence of direction. The production was a little more interesting (also his), set in one room, plus computer screen; there are some spooky special effects at times (particularly shadowy hands seen coming around Rebecca’s head), but a good deal of the time it is difficult to grasp what she is reacting to, or why she is steadily becoming more unwell.

The bottom line is this film is not worth any horror fan’s time: there are plenty of other better possession films out there (such as Paco Plaza’s Veronica on Netflix); unless of course, you are a filmmaker, keen to see that others have made films worse than yours.

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