Despite Jordan Galland’s fresh take on the storied possession genre, Ava’s Possessions suffers from a meandering narrative that struggles to find any real momentum, or a voice of its own. In it, with no memory of the past month, Ava is forced to attend a Spirit Possession Anonymous support group after recovering from a demonic possession. As she struggles to reconnect with her friends, get her job back, and figure out where the huge bloodstain in her apartment came from, she’s plagued by nightmarish visions–the demon is trying to come back.
While Ava’s Possessions never really connected with me, it’s hard to deny that Galland was on the edge of something special here. It is a film about possession—something we see way too much of in the genre—but this one starts where most movies of its kind end, picking up just as the priest has exorcised Ava’s demon. I love that approach because not only is it something different, it brings up a question that these films rarely ever ask: what’s life like after being possessed? The unfortunate thing is that although the set-up is gold, most of the movie is just not very engaging—it just goes from point A to point B without much of an identity.
There are, of course, some fun beats here and there—I really dug the soundtrack, too—and Galland has a wonderful eye behind the camera, wrapping each scene in colorful visuals that really make the movie standout in an atmospheric sense. It’s just too bad that the story itself, as well as its characters, didn’t thrive in Galland’s fascinating little world. Like I said before, the film was on the edge of something special—An AA program for people who were once possessed is such a fantastic idea and the stories that came out of it were hilarious; this dude’s demon made him eat his own dog. That’s just awesome (and totally fucked up) and I wish the film would have explored that (the AA program) more because Ava’s story just isn’t all that interesting outside of it.
While it’s certainly an offbeat take on the possession genre, and it does have a pretty cool aesthetic, Ava’s Possessions just doesn’t standout nearly as much as its premise suggests. And despite a couple of great scenes—Ava helping her AA friend bring back her demon on a rooftop was awesome—the film doesn’t offer enough to hold onto, ultimately wasting a great concept.