I would never describe Jessabelle as a memorable horror film but saying it’s a complete sham would be going too far. It’s a poorly executed story with an interesting twist. The twist was where the hope came for this film, but what good is an interesting twist if the before and after are clichéd and predictable? The lack of scares makes me wonder if ‘horror’ would be the correct way to describe it but I’ll go with it. If you love to seek out the more obscure horror films and give the original stories a chance (which you should) then watch it and make your own opinion, but if you don’t have valuable film time to risk then give a wide berth.
Jessie (Sarah Snook) and her husband have everything to be happy about right now, they have a baby on the way so it’s about time they moved in together. The bags are packed and they’re on the way to their home together. But a simple road accident changes everything. Jessie loses the use of her legs, which seems nothing compared to losing the baby and her fiancé in the same accident. Having nobody to take care of her she’s forced to move in with her father who she hasn’t seen for years. Jessie’s mum died of cancer when she was still a child and therefore she never knew her mother. The cancer had forced her into a wheelchair before her death, so Jessie takes residency in her bedroom as it’s ideal for her situation.
The first night brings strange sounds and ghostly apparitions. Jessie finds some old video tapes in the room. They’re her mother’s video diary while she was dying. She had left messages for Jessie to one day watch. The tapes get a reaction from her father; he disposes of the tapes leaving Jessie wondering why. Jessie investigates deeper while the haunting in the house grow. What she finds might cost her more than what she’s lost already.
I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews; I don’t think it’s fair for my negative opinion to influence your decision with this film. But, Jessabelle really did disappoint me. I’ve watched so many films with limited production and a very small budget, with these it’s the story that shines through and the story here was a poor one. There is a twist toward the end which would have been enough for me to give this a good review but the rest of the film held it back. A lack of scares, no creep factor and no tension building made it impossible for me to stay interested. The twist gave a feel of The Skelton Key but that film was a great example of what a well executed story can be.
Kevin Greutert directed this one, which I was really gutted to learn. He’s helped create some brilliant films in the past, The Strangers was a great film and a number of the Saw films, and he even directed two of them.
You may find something you like in Jessabelle that I couldn’t. But if you really want my Opinion, give it a miss if you like watching great horror films but if you don’t mind taking risks with valuable film time then go for it.