Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Kevin Greutert

Sarah Snook/Jessie
Joelle Carter/Kate
Mark Webber/Preston
David Andrews/Leon
7 10
An unfortunate accident lands Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) into a wheelchair and back home in the South to stay with her booze happy dad (David Andrews). Once there she finds old VHS tape messages made to her from her dead mom, shite starts to get weird after that…
Kevin Greutert’s JESSABELLE (produced by Blumhouse) was initially going to have a wide theatrical release. Then it got bumped and bumped and eventually dumped as a VOD release with the Blu-Ray on its way (January 31 2015). I won’t lie to ya, the way the film was mis-treated kinda scared me. But then I thought; Greutert has talent, Sarah Snook is a mucho strong actress and Studios often don't know wtf is going on, hence maybe there’s hope that it could be decent. So I took Jessabelle out on a date and was happy to discover that yes, she swallowed.

JESSABELLE was an old fashion and slow burn horror yarn that was actually smarter than the usual film of its ilk, a Ying to OUIJA’s (another film put out by Blumhouse) “duh” Yang. It sported an engaging story and layered/realistic characters, especially when it came to our titular lass as played by Sarah Snook. Snooks blew me away here with her emotionally charged, charismatic and riveting showcase. Moreover the camera simply loved her. Those expressive eyes, them full lips, that peek-a-boo cleavage, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Talk about an ideal leading lady! She definitely elevated the material here to a higher plane of f*ck yeah. Thankfully, she was well supported by David Andrews who managed to be sympathetic even though he was a drunk arse and by Mark Webber, who was likeable as Jessabelle’s old flame. It should be noted that Webber and Snook shared a compelling chemistry together and sold their mutual attraction/fondness for each other.

I also loved the look of the film! The heightened camera work was fantastic (props to cinematographer Michael Fimognari for what he pulled off) while Greutert imbued his tale with dread filled mood galore, making the most of the Louisiana locations and the retro-ish set designs. Greutert ramped up the tension with skill as well and delivered honest frights that went beyond the “boo” variety (all about those insane spirit attacks). Lots of creepy moments here that got to me! Good stuff! Add to all that, a handful of nasty ideas, an evocative score with a twang by Anton Sanko, a mystery that had me guessing for about a bit, bang on sound design and a couple of grisly moments that had me squirming and you get a pretty good horror flick; one that deserved a better fate the VOD two-pump-chump dump it got.

On the flipside; although the mystery had me in its grasp from the get-go, I figured out “what was what” too early in the game, hence I was waiting for the film to catch up with me. No biggie though. But my biggest peeve was the last act, which not only felt rushed but it also went about its business in a corny way in terms of communicating its secrets and bringing its story to a close. Kind of took me out of it a tad. At least the final frames were dope! On the whole JESSABELLE was a pleasant surprise! An atmospheric, well paced, expertly acted little horror film that’s worth at least one tap!
Not much gore aside from burned skin, a dead goat head and some blood. But the film was intense nonetheless!
T & A
All about that Snook cleavage. It put me in a trance.
Kevin Greutert’s JESSABELLE got the job done and with class at that! It sported a gripping story, infectious morbid atmosphere; fly camera work, thick suspense, solid scares and one hell of a performance by Sarah Snook. If horror had Oscars, she’d win one! Yes the mystery wasn’t that hard to solve and the last act felt rushed and made odd choices as to how it gave up its goods; but overall I had a groovy sit down with Jessabelle! It was an old school breath of fresh air! Give her a whirl!
Screenwriter Robert Ben Garant also wrote Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and the upcoming Blumhouse produced flick The Veil.

Kevin Greutert edited all of the SAW movies and of course directed SAW 6 and SAW 7.