The Possession of Hannah Grace follows Shay Mitchell’s Megan Reed as she starts a job working the midnight shift at a hospital morgue, with the movie detailing the spooky shenanigans that ensue after a corpse (Kirby Johnson’s title character) is brought into the facility. Filmmaker Diederik Van Rooijen kicks The Possession of Hannah Grace off with a striking opening stretch that eventually subverts one’s expectations, as the film’s opening exorcism, which feels like the climax of an entirely different movie, segues into a story centered around Mitchell’s character that initially doesn’t seem to be following an easily-recognizable pattern or formula (ie one can’t help but wonder where the narrative is going). The slow-yet-creepy atmosphere is peppered with a number of tense moments that compensate for Van Rooijen’s reliance on horror-movie tropes (eg there are a lot of jump scares here), although it does become increasingly clear that Brian Sieve’s screenplay seems to be struggling to justify a full-length running time. (There is, for example, a silly and needless subplot involving a figure who refuses to believe Megan’s claims until it’s too late.) The picture’s third-act transformation into a rather conventional chiller is disappointing, to put it mildly, and it’s ultimately clear that The Possession of Hannah Grace probably would’ve worked better as a short.
**1/2 out of ****