Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-reviews: Ava's Possessions and They Look Like People

Ava's Possessions

Ava was possessed for 28 days by the demon Naphula, but she's better now. Everywhere she goes, people hate her, fear her, or mock her. Not only did she lose her job, but also her boyfriend and all of her friends. She's being faced with numerous criminal charges and opts to join a rehabilitation program for possessed people instead of going to jail or paying back all the damage she caused. Ava starts on her journey trying to piece together the last 28 days, figure out why she became possessed, and see why her floor is stained with blood.

I'm not usually a fan of possession stories, but this one is unique in that it takes place right after the possession where most films end. Considering how possessions usually go (attacking people, acting grotesquely sexual, yelling obscenities, among other horrific things), it's safe to assume that the transition back to normal life isn't going to be easy. Ava has no memory of any of the things she's told she did, but her entire world has changed. Everyone looks at her like she's dangerous and so many people have been hurt by Naphula with her face. She has practically no support system left except a court appointed counselor, a lawyer, and her horribly judgmental mother. Everyone else either hates her, fears her, or mocks her and nothing she does can change the damage that's been done. Along with the emotional fallout, Naphula wreaked havoc and racked up quite the list of criminal charges as well. Now, she has to go to what amounts to Possession Anonymous or face the full brunt of crimes she didn't commit.

The film loses a lot of steam near the end with completely predictable revelations and simply underwhelming events. Ava also insisted on making horrible decisions that wouldn't even help her. I liked that the story explored people who like being possessed and even work with their demons as a different perspective not seen in possession stories. The ending was unimpressive and clumsy, but the majority of the film is enjoyable and a different fare than the usual in the genre.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

They Look Like People

Wyatt runs into his friend Christian on the streets of New York City by chance. Wyatt has just been dumped by his fiancee while Christian has decided to improve his life with positive thinking and manliness. They live together for a while happily, dating girls and hanging out together, but Wyatt can't shake that he's convinced people are being taken over by demons. Time will tell if Wyatt is right and he needs to leave the city with whatever people remain themselves or if Wyatt is out of touch with reality.

They Look Like People is a surprisingly good film. The suspense slowly builds throughout the film. The beginning feels uncomfortable because of Christian's awkward eagerness and Wyatt's obvious discomfort towards Christian. After a while, they settle into a groove, but Wyatt knows he shouldn't be in the city at all. Every night he receives phone calls from a distorted voice that tells him how to differentiate between actual people and demons as well as how to properly kill them. For much of the film, day time is relatively normal while the night holds the fear and terror. The last half of the film has that night time feeling bleeding into what passes for his normal life.

The real question of the film is if Wyatt is right or not about demons taking over humanity. Suspense is built throughout the film, playing with the question and keeping the audience guessing until the end. The last scene is incredibly intense with Christian tied to a chair and Wyatt deciding whether to kill him or let him live. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen as the events slowly unfolded. The only drawback to the film is Christian as he tends to grate on the nerves with his desperate masculinity. Some may be frustrated by the lack of horror elements as the plot builds, but I thought it was a well done slow burn horror film.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

No comments: