“People get creeped out, working here,” says Dr. Henry Lewis (James A. Watson Jr.), ushering former Boston police officer, Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell), to her new assignment, the Boston Hospital morgue. “Not me,” says Megan. “I believe when you die, you die. End of story.” “One more thing,” says Dr. Lewis. “Never leave the premises when you’re on duty. No exceptions.” That’s the setup for this mostly scare-free horror flick, “The Possession of Hannah Grace.”
Can Megan, just out of rehab for substance abuse, handle the graveyard shift, 11 p.m.-7 a.m.? When Hannah’s father (Louis Herthum), fearful that exorcism had failed, took his daughter’s life, did the demon who possessed her die as well? Will this film’s run-time (86 minutes) seem longer to you? It did me.
Shay Mitchell does her best with an underwritten, mostly one-dimensional role as ex-cop Megan Reed. We learn a bit of her backstory — trouble with prescription drugs led to break-up with her Boston-cop boyfriend, Andrew Kurtz, and the end of her career in law enforcement. Grey Damon plays Kurtz, who shows up from time-to-time to confirm that Megan is staying clean. (He’s missing a prescription and suspects Megan has taken it.) Stana Katic plays Lisa Roberts, hospital nurse who offers to help Megan adjust to her new job. Louis Herthum is Grainger who, three months after smothering his daughter still hunts down the demon. “Listen to me!” he says to Megan. “You have to destroy Hannah’s body! She’s not dead!”
Others in the cast include Max McNamara and Nick Thune as Dave and Randy, two hospital security guards. James A. Watson Jr. plays Dr. Henry Lewis. “Working the morgue,” he says to Megan, “is a thankless, solitary position; you never get used to the smell.”
“The Possession of Hannah Grace” is directed by Diederik Van Roojen from Brian Sieve’s script, originally titled “Cadaver.” Hannah’s cadaver is the title character, performed by Kirby Johnson. It’s a horror film with a few jump scares and a pervasive murky look that often makes difficult figuring out who’s who and what’s what. So its action is hard to follow. The best thing about “Hannah Grace” is its soundtrack: minimal music with ominous mechanical morgue sounds — buzz-buzz-buzz when there’s a delivery and someone (or some thing) comes in; click-click-click when the lights come on, or go off.
Rated R for gruesome images and terror, “The Possession of Hannah Grace” runs (a long) 86 minutes.
“Possession of Hannah Grace,”
Horror film, but not my taste;
Of tension, scares — not a trace;
For me, it was two hours’ waste.