After Jessie got into a horrific car accident, she returns to her childhood home in Louisiana. Bound to a wheelchair she is forced to live with her estranged father. It doesn’t take long before Jessie comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return and learns about a atrociously family secret.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with these kind of horror films where evil spirits starts tormenting the main character. Whether the story is good or isn’t. Last night I saw Jessabelle on HBO and since I saw a creepy trailer a few months back, I gave it a shot. Jessabelle is directed by Kevin Greuters, who also worked as a director and editor on the Saw films. The writer of the film is Robert Ben Garant, who worked on comedy films like Night at the Museum, The Pacifier and Herbie Fully Loaded. Garant however doesn’t have any horror films in his repertoire.. Sarah Snook plays the main character Jessie Laurent, who had a small role in last year’s Dressmaker and Steve Jobs.
The film starts with a glimpse on a promising future for the pregnant Jessie and her boyfriend, but Jessie’s life changes drastically when she loses them both. Jessie got paralyzed and is therefore forced to return to her father in Louisiana. A few awkward scenes between the two take place, since they haven’t seen each other since Jessie was a little girl. David Andrews, who appeared in quite some tv series, takes on the role of the father Leon, a drunk who seems to have his own personal issues. Despite the fact that Jessie and Leon haven’t seen each other in years and therefore don’t really know each other, Jessie still sees him as her true father. However, their interaction feels awkward and uncomfortable, and there’s no real daughter-father bond. This feeling gets fueled after Leon discovers Jessie has found some mysterious and horrific tapes.
Jessie’s mother Kate died when she was born and therefore she made some tapes for her daughter. In these tapes Kate predicts her future by reading tarot cards. These predictions however are not the kind you wish to see, in fact why did Kate even saved this tapes? To freak out her daughter? It’s working though. Jessie is getting very vivid nightmares, some are creepy but some – like the bathtub scene – are quite hysterical. There are a few scenes which might scare you. In her quest to find out what’s happening, Jessie finds help in her childhood friend Preston, played by Mark Webber. Together they follow an old trail which sheds light upon an old family secret and voodoo. Only in the last few minutes of the film everything becomes clear. If you’re not that quick to understand the plot, Jessie is so kind to explain it while she talks to the evil spirits.
Jessabelle is not the kind of horror film which gives you the creeps, even if you’re – like me – someone who got easily scared. There are a few scary scenes though. The film has some plot holes as well, think of the sheriff who might know more about some stuff, and it’s not always logic. The shocking secret is explained in the final scene, which is a shame. The film doesn’t build things up to a climax.