"Remember what the dormouse said - Feed your head" - Jefferson Airplane
The filming styles of Paul Verhoven (RoboCop, 1987) and more closely Gasper Noe (Love, 2015)are applied to this horror film, which is not found footage, thankfully. It is something more tedious and exhausting: the subjective POV of the possessed protagonist, Alexia Fast as Grace/Mary.
While Murphy was put back together with the help of highly advanced prosthetic and the shaky POV that flickers and slowly comes into focus when he wakes up for the first time; we watch what he sees. Everyone is unsure and Murphy is on the verge of panic. The scientists and the doctors have held their breath in anticipation. The viewer is looking at a very real, near future and at the same time feeling how the director intended them to feel. Excited, entertained yet full of trepidation at the idea of it all.
Enter the Void by Noe, makes us an accomplice to Oscar‘s near-death-experience, makes us take the psychedelic leaps and bounds with the help of DMT he ingests (or maybe the Tibetan Book of the Dead, he obsessively clings to) and as a result hovers over an extremely neon Tokyo (it could have been the acutely distressing public restroom scene, also) as if ‘escaping purgatory’.
This time the viewer gets to ride the possession-gun, through the blinking eyes of Grace. Complete to the fish-eye visuals, when the film is impending with the presence of a dark force, Grace’s vision gets all Orton and focused on a single object. Simple yet arousing the viewer’s curiosity among other states of the mind.
Grace also uses mirrors to boast the sfx (see ma, no cam) just like Void, complete to the scene where Grace washes her face. Critics and viewers were supremely intrigued by the scene from the 2009 mind-fuck classic by Gaspar Noé. Apparently, first-time feature director Jeff Chan felt that the POV approach to a possession narrative just might work.
And it just did.
The smash-edit between every mirror sequence is long and the viewer eventually settles for going The Fly, 1986 way by merging with the camera, becoming one. And then we are being chased by a demon through the forest (Evil Dead 1981 is god and so is the original). That is one heavy duty scary movie.
The mirrors are revelatory; giving a sense of detachment for a few seconds before pushing the viewer back into Grace’s head or perhaps the contact lens with an integrated camera.
Grace is a fine entry into the possession genre. However, the POV gets tedious at times, as it does in Void. And that is after you have become used to watching a film through a cast member’s eyes.
Despite the hurried ending and the out of character, out of nowhere (entertaining nonetheless) first half-hour, the film wins at many levels. Above all it tests the rudimentary threshold of the viewer with an otherwise unsophisticated and a straightforward narrative.
I liked it very much. Plus this one also has a ‘chest-Buster Posey‘-like sequence in it. Nevertheless, what comes out resembles a face-hugger and not the adorable baby xenomorph.
Recommended, and not to be confused with the The Possession of Hannah Grace (Cadaver), 2018
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