Critic Consensus: Jessabelle hints at a bright future for star Sarah Snook, but clouds her performance with a cliched -- and tasteless -- storyline.
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Critic Reviews for Jessabelle
As the film racks up incidents and characters and explanations, the mystery dissipates. It's a strange spectacle: a horror film that spends as much time dismantling suspense as it does building it.
An ineffective, derivative, and awkwardly executed mash-up of ghost flicks and voodoo movies.
"Jessabelle" is interesting in some of the small details, and in its strong sense of the Louisiana bayou atmosphere, and then it completely falls apart when it starts being a horror film.
Credit lead Sarah Snook's gentle, sympathetic performance for holding together this atmospheric film, especially during its silly-campy third act.
How are VHS tapes, voodoo and the specter lurking in a house connected? Your impatience for answers is likely to eclipse your trepidation.
Audience Reviews for Jessabelle
A terrible movie that wastes the talents of Sarah Snook. This movie just has nothing to offer outside of that honestly. It relies mostly on its atmosphere, but even that is lacking. I'd say that this film is vanilla, but you can still be vanilla while not being a particularly bad movie. This is a bad movie. Absolutely no scares to speak of, nonsensically stupid story involving voodoo, ghosts, among other cliches. Done in as haphazard a manner as is humanly possible. There's just no rhyme or reason for this, it's happening just because it is. Talk about ineffective. There's just something incredibly lazy about the film's attempts to build up suspense leading to its, supposed, scares. There's some decent ones here and there, but there are just as many, if not double, shit ones. That also seems to suggest that the film had more than, say, 20 scares. That's just a number I came up with, not the actual number. This just feels empty and shallow. It struggles to come up with interesting narrative threads in order to carry it throughout its running length. Let's just say it struggles to do even that. You'd think a movie involving voodoo would, hopefully, explore that concept, other than taking just a glancing look at it, but you'd be wrong. Explore how it influences the people that practice it. Just do SOMETHING. There was no real effort. It's like they thought 'oh hey, voodoo is cool, put that shit in there' and then they did a wikipedia search of it and just put it in there in the most simplified and basic explanation possible. Laziness personified. I don't wanna say it's disrespectful, but it could also be misunderstanding or even misinterpreting what voodoo is actually about. Which is probably not a good idea considering the perception about voodoo among people as it is. I'm not saying people take horror films THAT seriously, but misinformation can permeate our society because a movie, a book, or a TV series happened to shine a light on them in an inaccurate fashion. Of course, seeing as this film wasn't really that successful, then it doesn't really matter. But this is a problem in many films. Have I mentioned how bad this movie is yet? Because it sucks. There's this one really unintentionally scene, where Jessabelle, who's wheelchair-bound thinks that the ghosts of 'mother' and Moses are pushing her down the walkway into the lake, but it's really her rolling herself down into the lake. She just looked so fucking stupid doing this that it kinda nullified everything the movie had done up to that point. Not that any of it was good, mind you, it was just too difficult to take the movie seriously after that. Granted, it was close to the end, but the last thing a terrible movie needs is for someone to just give up on it and that's exactly what I did. I don't recall the last time I just gave up on a movie. I watch terrible movies all the time, but I don't know if I mentally quit them the way I did with this one. This is terrible. A decent performance from Sarah Snook does not make this worthwhile. It's not offensively terrible or anything of the sort, but I would not watch this if I were you. Go watch John Wick instead, the next movie I'll review, which was really good. I'm sure Cabin in the Woods is still on Netflix. That was a masterpiece of horror. This is not, obviously.
Nothing you haven't seen before on ghosts stories with very little surprises and a hell lot of pointless explanations that ruin the suspense. Plus, there's barely any scares to be found here, so this is a waste of time in the end. It's fairly well made and the lead actress is not bad but that doesn't save a movie without much to offer and some rather distasteful scenes later on.
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