Well, this was a surprise double feature. Neither of these two films delivered what I was anticipating. Sure, I got my demonic possession fix when all was said and done, just not in the way I’d imagined. If I had known then what I know now, I would have watched the films in the reverse order to save the best for last…and then skipped the first one completely to save the best one for first and last.
THE WICKED WITHIN (2015)
Here we go. Another possession movie. I went into The Wicked Within with that attitude, and for a while, it totally lived up to my derision. A completely unlikable family gathers the year after the death of a child.
Weird shit starts happening, then suddenly one chick—Sienna Guillory, who portrays video game character Jill Valentine perfectly in the Resident Evil movies—is snarling at everyone in a demonic voice. So the family first calls in a psychic for some spiritual communication, then a priest for an exorcism. Yawn.
To make matters worse, the movie is structured with those involved recounting the exorcism to a detective—Eric Roberts. Hey, I’ve always liked Eric, but it’s gotten to the point that putting him in your horror movie for 5 minutes is a painfully overused gimmick that does nothing to save it. Tell me you didn’t role your eyes when you saw the pic of him.
The fact that the possessed chick doesn’t go all demon face makes it look like The Wicked Within is really just another cheap cash-in during this resurgence of lame possession films. But then something happens. She starts to say nasty shit to everyone and revealing their dark and dirty secrets. As soon as she got all “Suck my dick!” in her demonic voice and another chick responded with “Whip it out!”, I started paying attention. This possessed diva bitch from hell fucking rules. She spouts meta shit about being a demon—like what she’s supposed to do with a crucifix (if you know what I mean), crows like a rooster when she mentions the priest’s cock, eats a guy’s tongue out, and gets everyone to fight amongst each other and eventually slash the fuck out of each other. And just for kicks, she even tosses them around and roughs them up herself.
My biggest disappointment with The Wicked Within is that it pretended to be a serious modern horror movie complete with overused jump scares before turning into a craptastic, foul-mouthed bloodfest.
AVA’S POSSESSIONS (2015)
I was so sure Ava’s Possessions was going to be my kind of quirky movie. I wanted so badly to love it. The premise was fresh and fun. The poster art looks like Sex & Demons in the City. A young woman recovering from possession joins a support group. It’s like Mom...but with demons instead of Allison Janney and Anna Faris. I wish. Not to be dramatic, but I was bored to tears, twitching with impatience, and on the verge of banging my head against the wall as I pondered what energizing movie I could have been watching instead. This movie wasn’t funny enough to be a comedy, not intense enough to be a drama, not intriguing enough to be a mystery, not tongue-in-cheek enough to be a charming novelty, and not clever enough to be smart. It just felt so bland and lifeless to me.
So this chick goes to a support group. She hits up a magic shop run by Carol Kane (in a completely straight role). She hunts down the people she hurt when she was possessed to apologize and is greeted with abrupt, resentful reminders of exactly what she did to them. She has chronic “demon” episodes. She watches horror classic Alice, Sweet Alice on TV. She has run-ins with shady people as she tries to solve the mystery of who was responsible for her possession. 50 minutes into the movie, she uses witchcraft to help one of her friends from group therapy reconnect with her demon.
The friend becomes possessed, and I thought, now we’re getting somewhere. False alarm. We got nowhere for another 40 minutes.
Eventually, she gets repossessed for a final fight, and I guess she solved the mystery, as there’s a bunch of dialogue that was just background noise to me by then but kind of sounded like exposition. Not even several instances of demon face thrown in for good measure could save this one for me.