We will cast a shadow over you that cannot be distinguished from Fate.
—“Legends of Haiti”
When you see something like that at the opening of a movie you should probably turn it off…for nothing good will come from it.
The Shortest Honeymoon Phase In Horror Film History
In the film Jessabelle, we meet Jessie Laurent who looks to be in the last stage of moving out of her place to move in with her boyfriend. They are both happy and seem quite optimistic about their futures.
It’s pretty much all downhill from here.
They immediately get into a horrific car accident where not only is her boyfriend killed but she also loses her unborn baby. Having nowhere else to turn, she calls up her ‘Daddy’ Leon Laurent, who gave her to his sister to raise after his wife, Jessie’s mother, died of cancer. Begrudgingly, this beacon of society agrees to take her in as she convalesces.
The Courting Phase
Much like The Honeymoon Phase, the film rapidly plows into the courting phase when a ghostly apparition begins to make itself known to Jessie on the very first night at her father’s home. Wheelchair bound with not much to do, Jessie is intrigued and excited when she stumbles upon some old VHS tape recordings made by her mother, supposedly for her to watch on her eighteenth birthday. These tapes continue the courting phase by becoming more and more disturbing and ominous. So much so that her father and former boyfriend Preston actively try to prevent her from watching them. This is all handled very well, the visuals are solid and director Kevin Greutert effectively creates tense scenes. It’s a shame he wasted his talents on this film.
The First Date
“That thing on these tapes is not your mother” — Leon Laurent
The ghost-like apparition tries to drown Jessie as she takes a bath signaling to us that we have full and well entered The First Date phase. This being is clearly not bringing tidings of comfort and joy. The entity goes even further and aids in the death of Leon when he tries to burn the remainder of her mother’s blast from the past VHS tapes.
The Scooby Doo Phase
“Tell Moses Jessabelle get what’s coming to her!” –Abigail Davis
With her father gone and the entity’s antagonism toward her growing, Jessie, with the aid of Preston (whose wife is none-too pleased) try to figure out just what the hairy heck is going on. They visit a burial ground on the other side of the river behind the late Leon’s residence. They discover the buried remains of an infant girl and learn that the man Moses Harper died on the same day.
It is during this phase that we begin to see that there is something nefarious not just with the story…but with the film itself. When you have characters in a film respond to your protagonist as if they are the incarnation of the Anti-Christ you had best have a bloody good reason for it.
Unfortunately, the Scooby Doo Phase was interrupted by other characters in the film and they did not learn enough about the threat to be particularly useful.
Applying What You Have Learned
An argument for the film; The character is warned not to do certain things and makes several mistakes.
- Continuing to watch the tapes.
- Taking the tarot cards and her mother’s personal items that could be linked to the evil.
- Not rolling her behind to another state…skid row if need be.
While it is tempting to put these mistakes under “She learned about her enemy but failed to apply what she has learned column” we have to remind ourselves that the Scooby Doo phase was never completed, that is, she did not fully understand (or was not allowed to understand) who her enemy was and what their objective may be.
Now the protagonist of this film finds out about the murder of this infant (who for reasons I have not quite worked out has aged with the passage of time..?) and reveals further her compassion by attempting to communicate with this being in an attempt to help, likely hoping she can bring it/her some peace.
But this was not to be. Between the police and the forces wishing her harm, the final pieces to what is going on are spelled out for Jessie…at at time when she can not use this knowledge to save her. We learn that the infant girl was the product of Moses Harper and Kate Laurent’s adulterous union. When Leon found out he ended up killing the baby and Moses.
So it turns out her mother was an adulterer and her father was a murderer.
So these people are trash. Fine.
But wait…it is revealed that Jessie was adopted. So she is not even related to these lowlifes. Why is she being punished for being brought into a situation that she had nothing to do with?
I’m all for dead spirits seeking revenge against those who have done them harm in life. It’s a pretty standard horror plot. But when these entities are attacking people who had nothing to do with it that’s when my sympathy evaporates and you become just an evil demon that should be vanquished to the great beyond. Even if she was related to them, blaming the child for the sins of the parents is just plain horseshit.
What Are We Supposed To Glean From This Tale?
“What do you want from me?” –Jessie Laurent
Jessie asks the million dollar question to the ghost of her ‘mother’ and Moses, her mother’s lover.
“Payback“ says Moses, the accomplice in the adultery. Is this ghost supposed to lie on some higher moral plane?
“It’s not my fault!” Cries Jessie. All perfectly true. And to entities that hold reason and logic, these words should mean something. It turns out these folk are just as irrational in death as they were in life.
“All Jessabelle wants is what’s comin to her“ says her adopted mother. What’s that? 40 acres and a mule? We heard this rationale time and time again from the leftist plane to excuse hatred and crime committed by minorities. Reparations…and you deserve this because of the color of your skin. Because their child was killed, in their warped ghost minds that gives them the right to take the life of another child. A child whose only crime was being in the wrong nursery at the wrong time…oh, and white.
Let’s rundown the life of Jessie Laurent:
- Adopted and sent to live with the sister of a person she believes is her father…who for most of her life has nothing to do with her.
- Lives with this knowledge until she is a late teenager.
- Gets into an accident that not only kills her boyfriend, but also her unborn child.
- Is tormented by an evil spirit.
- Finds out she is adopted by general slimeballs.
- Is eventually possessed by the evil spirit who replaces her soul with its own.
It is a spectacularly disgusting turn of events. Where the hell are Sam and Dean Winchester when you need them. These vile maggots surely deserve a blast from a shotgun loaded with rock salt. Why did these ghosts wait until the child came back to make their move? Why didn’t they just invade one of the myriad girls who live in that area? Jessie didn’t do anything to these people so clearly it didn’t have anything to do with having qualms about harming the innocent. Was it to get back at Leon? He’s dead! This leaves only some completely inaccurate execution of an eye for an eye. The equivalent of poking out some strangers eye as opposed to the person whose poked your eye out. Wholesale idiocy and just plain evil.
So any sympathy I had for Moses is gone. You were cheating scum who has no problem hurting innocent people and I’m glad you’re dead.
I no longer have any sympathy for Kate Laurent, who was also cheating scum and has no problem hurting innocent people and I’m glad she’s dead.
As for you Jessabelle.
I get it, your parents are trash, you don’t come from the best of stock. But I would think that you of all beings could appreciate the innocence of an infant and would push back against your wacked-out parents plan of soul replacement. Maybe you could have warned Jessie off, given her hints as to the evil that was upon her. Another option would have been a comprise. Jessie said she wanted to help. Why not suggest that you get to inhabit her body and live your life via hers? Seeing what she sees, feeling what she feels. Or, if she was willing, some kind of 50/50 deal where you get to come out and drive the car, so to speak, from time to time. She might have even been willing to let you be the first in line to be the soul of her next child, giving you a chance at a whole new life. This is fantasy, plenty of options. But no, that ‘s not what Jessabelle did. She went along with snuffing out this 18-year-olds essence to plunge her skanky behind in her frame. And what is the first thing this despicable, evil, body possessing creature do after she snuffs out the soul of Jessie? She starts slurping on a married man. Clearly the apple didn’t fall far from this tree.
You are sludge Jessabelle. All sympathy I had for you is gone, not only should Leon have broken your back, he should have tossed your evil ass into an incinerator and poured salt on the ashes.
1 out of 5 stars
I give it propaganda rating of: