Grace: The Possession starts with a graphic birth scene, with the doctors asking God for the baby to be unharmed, only for the mother to remark “I have no God”.
After she (unsurprisingly) dies in childbirth, the baby Grace is born seemingly without further complications.
Fast forward eighteen years, and we see that Grace is starting her first year at college. After she experiences stranger and stranger events, such as receiving a wound seemingly from nowhere or hallucinating visions of death, her nurse seems to think that she may be suffering from a mental illness. But Grace’s troubles seem to have a less simple answer.
It must be given due credit for trying to do something new, which is to tell the story of a possessed young woman entirely from her perspective. After the cold opening, all shots in the film are from Grace’s POV. Unfortunately, in this era of found footage sci-fi and horror, this potentially effective creative decision does not have the level of impact that was clearly intended.
And while it’s visual style is something new, it’s characters unfortunately are not. Grace’s grandmother is the typical orthodox religious fanatic who sees evil and sin everywhere she looks, as is the priest who says that we should “not abandon God in favour of earthly temptation” and her classmates are sex drugs and rock music obsessed teen movie stereotypes.
While most of the supporting characters are little more than stereotypes, Grace herself actually something of a saving grace (sorry). She starts as a little miss perfect prodigal student who finds the temptations and immorality of college life to be too much for her, before descending deeper and deeper into insanity, a journey which we experience with her every step of the way, making her fall from grace (sorry strike two) even more difficult and hard to endure for both herself and us. And when Grace’s possession causes her to wreak terrible vengeance upon those who have bullied and abused her, well, seeing a previously week character used to being walked over finally turning the tables does have a certain charm.
Alexia Fast is clearly fully committed to the role, successfully pulling off both a scared and confused young woman and the monster she later becomes.
Many of the usual horror cliches, such as whether or not a character is awake or dreaming, or characters talking in hushed tones about how there are sinister forces at play, are also present. But a surprise twist at the end further strengthens the fact that they were trying to do something that hasn’t been done before.
Although it certainly does’t rank amongst possession classics, like say, The Exorcist, as a first time feature from Call of Duty fan film helmer Jeff Chan, this is hopefully the start of a great career.