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Home > Jessabelle (2014): A Review

Jessabelle (2014): A Review

  • by Perez

This Film Will Have You Sleeping Before Any Scares Occur

For a film that was only an hour and a half long, it seemed to go on longer due to its terrible pace. Viewers won’t know this right away, since the beginning starts out okay enough. They might even expect an exciting film due to the abrupt turn it takes at the start. However, that is not the case.

The creators of Jessabelle are rather clumsy with how they handled telling the story of a woman recuperating from a car accident while also having nightmarish encounters with spirits. Instead of what the first impression offered, it felt as though the film wasn’t sure what can be considered important to the story for audiences to see. For instance, it’s apparently important to drag out a scene full of awkward tension between two estranged characters. In better hands, it could’ve worked, but the results here are unwanted. 

It doesn’t help that the performances are downright lifeless. Sarah Snook is especially dull as Jessie, as though being the main character is enough reason to root for her. When she isn’t spending most of her time sulking, she’s giving half-hearted reactions to everything going on around her like they’re strange inconveniences and nothing more. Everyone else that’s thrown in is also expected to be welcomed with open arms. But how can they be when they, too, show off wooden acting while spewing out bad dialogue?

Speaking of which, the dialogue is nothing more than clunky exposition that makes for poor attempts to hurry the story along. They are poor attempts because, as previously mentioned, the film is full of scenes that went on longer than necessary. There’s more focus on those moments than on the few decent scares Jessabelle actually possessed.


The “nightmares” Jessie has are a good mix of horror. They showcase all she’s gone through with her traumatic experience and the fears she’s produced after unlocking some family secrets. It could have made a viewer wonder whether this was all in her head, or if something truly nefarious was going on. Perhaps if this was the approach director Kevin Greutert went with, it could’ve helped distract from Jessabelle’s weak spots. Instead, the good, creepy imagery had gone to waste in this otherwise boring film. 

Other small details that could’ve been handled better are the bayou setting (especially since Louisiana is known for housing one of the most haunted cities in the United States) and the interesting twist in the end. Viewers could’ve been gifted with a Southern Gothic drama with a good slow-burn start. The scary details that lie in the dark family secrets could’ve been expanded more without the use of forced exposition. New characters could’ve been welcomed into the film more organically instead of as pointless plot devices. The protagonist of the film could’ve also had more life to them so that audiences wouldn’t end up rooting for the ghosts to finish everything off simply because it’ll mean something will happen. 

It’s a major disappointment to think about what potential this film had if those who worked on it tried a little harder.     


Jessabelle (2014) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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