Director: Juan Frausto
Starring: Katherine Munroe, Johnny Ortiz .USA. 1h 33m
For a majority of my armchair criticism I am always asking for directors to try and bring something new to the genres that their film straddles, however in the case of the Possession Diaries, and similar uncreative movies, I see no problems with people trying their hand at the tried and tested tropes, but at least try to make your copy as solid as possible. For all the planning and effort going into this project, it just doesn’t come across as being as polished as it could and ends up being a tad boring.
Juan Frausto’s occult thriller follows a charming girl, Rebecca Clarkson, as she attempts to document her demonic possession after using a Ouija Board one night. Fearful that people won’t believe her she attempts to film everything to prove the truth of her predicament. This in itself isn’t anything new, Found Footage, Social Media horrors are slowly littering the horror genre, we can’t deny the alluring aspect of using social media to amplify horror but it’s rarely done well as common sense does dictate the best options of dealing with online predators if they are real or paranormal. In Rebecca’s case, instead of documenting everything to prove you really are going through a possession, call a fucking priest.. but wait, in all fairness she does call a psychic and a priest to help but this is days into her “experiment”.
I’m a little bit pissed off with how movie politics dictate that Ouija boards lead to possessions, if this were so then there would more demons here than in hell as so many people use them and none of these people have been through an exorcism, thinking outside the trope and reporting on some of the documented cases at this point wouldn’t make sense as so many films have claimed this is only way to make a possession film in modern horror, which is a shame and strange tend setting. But apart from all the occult falsehoods, the movie fails to really decide on how it’s going to present itself. Initially it’s set up as found footage, being viewed from webcams but its easily switches between this and just an average movie, but with most of the juicy bits happening off screen. Usually with these media hungry horrors there’s some attempt to show interactions and the online presence but that’s all skipped over in a nonsensical fashion.
Rebecca is going through a terrible time, her veins are popping out and strange red devilish hands touch her when she’s trying to tell everyone that bad thing are happening to her. I find it quite hilarious that it’s the Devil himself possessing her and he gives his name straight away, as other exorcism movies will tell us it’s usually something else and giving a name is rarely done. It’s all just such a mess.
Between trying to kill her boyfriend with a kitchen knife while in a trance and getting exorcised on her livestream there are a few little highlights in the movie but it’s honestly one that I could have gotten into if it wasn’t for the ending which really let it down and it totally unforgivable.
Related: Hallowed Ground (2019)
Lists: The AOFA Brief History and Introduction to Exorcism Cinema, 10 Excellent (and not to excellent) Exorcism movies Vol 1.