<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Kevin Greutert. Starring Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, David Andrews, Joelle Carter, Ana de la Reguera, Amber Stevens, Chris Ellis
Yet another clichéd scary movie that merges in a blur of ‘horror’ films that get churned out with absolutely no hint of an original idea in them.
I’ve already forgotten most of what Jessabelle was about and I only watched it a couple of hours ago. I did watch The Babadook – another scary movie, but this one from Australia – immediately after and that could be the reason I couldn’t give a shit about Jessabelle. The Babadook is your scary movie to go for if given a choice.
In the first five minutes of the movie Jessabelle or Jessie (Sarah Snook) and her fiancé are in a car crash. He dies and so does her unborn child. She is temporarily incapacitated and has to go back to her small town home on the bayou in Louisiana with her estranged father who lives like a pig. He’s not gotten over her mother’s death 20 years ago of cancer. Jessie has to stay in her old room and she immediately encounters the horror-movie staple: a scary girl with long hair who screams a lot and gets violent! These horror film guys have some issues with women don’t they…
Jessie then very easily stumbles upon videocassettes, which her father proclaims he never wanted her to find. Strange considering they were right under her bed and in the chest of drawers she’s using! Her late mother recorded some messages from beyond on the tapes as well as giving her daughter a free tarot card reading or two announcing that she’ll probably die or is probably already dead!
Of course her old (married) boyfriend Preston (Mark Webber) is by her side to carry her around and be all knight-in-shining-armour while she is just a curious little cat who seems to want to get into trouble. The usual ‘dead girl with long hair in the bath tub trying to kill the pretty girl’ scenes follow. There’s some mumbo-jumbo about a Haitian curse, the details of which are only revealed in the end with absolutely no set up for them.
And the finale is such a sham of a ‘twist’ that you simply shrug your shoulders and wonder what on earth these horror film writers do. Do they all get a list of things to tick off: water dripping, bath tub with blood, dead little girl who screams, strange images on TV, buried baby and creaky house. And we’ve made a ‘scary’ movie! I don’t think so.
Jessabelle is the type of movie that you can safely avoid watching. And you should. Go watch the wickedly creepy The Babadook instead.