AVA’S POSSESSIONS (2015)
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Oddly charming flick is a bit of a genre mash-up that tells the story of pretty New Yorker Ava (Louisa Krause). As the tale begins, an exorcism is performed freeing Ava of a demonic spirit that has been controlling her actions for the last 28 days. While her memories of her time possessed are limited, she apparently caused a lot of harm and broke quite a few laws. To avoid prison, she must attend a spirit possession rehabilitation program that will help her get her life back together, help her make amends to those she harmed and strengthen herself against the demon’s attempted return. But as Ava tries to reconstruct her life and right the wrongs she committed, she starts to uncover a mystery which may prove that the demon is the least of her worries.
Written and directed stylishly by Jordan Galland, this is a very offbeat tale with a very dry and hip sense of humor. Despite a premise that could become very silly, Galland treats his subject fairly seriously as more of a neon bathed film noir with a demon possession twist…and it works. The writer/director uses the demon possession elements as if they were a common thing, which is why the church and government co-fund this AA for the formerly possessed, Spirit Possession Anonymous. It’s a plot device to give our heroine amnesia so she must now retrace her steps to find out what she’s done and who she’s hurt. It also creates a dark shadow in her life that is always present as the demon wants her back. The film has a dark underlying sense of humor, yet never allows the outrageous plot to become a joke. This helps us take the mystery elements seriously as Ava tries to find out what happened to her while possessed and who the equally mysterious “Conrad” is. She apparently encountered this person under the demon thrall and he may have answers for her. Along the way she meets Conrad’s art gallery owner son, Ben (Lou Taylor Pucci), Noelle (Alysia Reiner), a hooker she apparently encountered and fellow rehab member Jillian (Whitney Able) who wants her demon back. It’s a very odd little movie that makes it’s eccentric tale work and has a sense of charm despite it’s sometimes dark tone. There is a bit of violence and bloodshed during the course of the film and some heavy atmosphere enhanced by Adrian Correia’s lush neon colored cinematography and Sean Lennon’s hip score.
We also have an effective cast to help make the audacious plot work. Louisa Krause is very good as our heroine. She conveys Ava’s sense of confusion as to why this happened and wanting to know what she did, all the while feeling frustrated for the same reasons. In a way it’s an offbeat journey of discovery and Krause makes a likable and strong lead which helps us get involved in the oddball story. Pucci is charming as Ben, the son of the mysterious Conrad who wants to know how Ava knows his father, just as much as she does. Wass Stevens is solid as the SPA coach, Tony. Dan Folger adds a touch of sarcastic humor as Ava’s lawyer JJ and Reiner is fine as the street-wise Noelle. We also have roles from vets William Sadler as Ava’s dad and Carol Kane as a magic shop owner. An eclectic but strong cast.
I liked this flick. it’s a very offbeat little movie with a very eccentric plot, but writer/director Jordan Galland makes it work. It plays it’s story with a straight face, but not without a very dry sense of humor and isn’t afraid to get a little bloody. It has very solid performances by it’s leading lady and supporting cast and has a very stylish and neon colored look to add to it’s atmosphere. A surprisingly entertaining little movie with both a director and lead actress to keep an eye on!
3 bears with drums.