Jessabelle is a young woman who was just in a horrific accident that left her in a wheelchair. It is likely that she will eventually be able to walk again, but until then she has to go live with her estranged father in the bayou of Louisiana. Jessie discovers a box of old tapes her mom made for her before she was born. As she goes through the tapes one by one, strange things start to happen. Jessie starts having vivid, horrific dreams that seem more and more realistic. The tapes and the dreams begin to reveal more of Jessie’s past and about the mother she never knew, but she may come to regret what she discovers.
I’ve said this before, but ghost movies always scare me the most. This ghost story did not disappoint. It had all the elements of a great haunting movie; it was scary, it had a great mystery, there were a few excellent twists, and as the story progresses things get more intense. This film was scary to the point where I had to turn a light on (in my defense, I was watching it alone in the dark). I think part of what made this film especially terrifying is the fact that Jessie is confined to a wheelchair. When these scary things start happening she is virtually immobile. Since the film is from Jessie’s perspective, you feel her panic as she is being haunted and attacked. Sarah Snook, who plays Jessie, also did an amazing acting job. Her character acted how I would in her situation; she was both terrified of what was happening to her, but also curious as to why it’s happening.
One of the best parts of this film is how things are revealed in small doses. Jessie ends up in her childhood home by chance. If she had not been in that accident, she would never have gone to live with the father whom she hadn’t seen in years. From the moment she finds the tapes of her mother, things get progressively worse for Jessie. Because things are gradually revealed, it also sets up a couple of really great twists. Most likely by the end of the film you will have figured out what is happening, but it will still be quite a surprise compared to what you may have thought in the beginning. The story gets especially interesting when it becomes clear that voodoo is a major part of what is happening. I’m really fascinated by Louisiana and the use of voodoo. This film explored voodoo in a way that reminded me of the film The Skeleton Key, except I believe this film did a far superior job. It showed voodoo in a way that is both interesting and unnerving at the same time.
Another thing that I absolutely adored about this film is that it didn’t really leave any unanswered questions. With very few exceptions, I hate when at the end of a movie I have lingering questions or things just don’t make sense. I think because things were revealed in pieces throughout the film, it made it easier for the filmmakers to make sure everything made sense by the end. It was also the kind of film where after watching how things end, you think back on events that occurred earlier in the film and things that may have seemed odd at first are easier to understand.
If you’re looking for a classic ghost story that also has a unique storyline, this is the movie for you. It had all the elements of a great ghost story, but it also added a little something extra with the voodoo. The film also had amazing acting that will send chills down your spine. If you watch it alone, like I did, you may want to leave a light on. Otherwise, be sure that you watch Jessabelle with someone who doesn’t mind you grabbing their arm and covering your eyes at the scary parts.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10