A young woman (Sarah Snook) returns to her childhood home to recuperate from a car accident and encounters a long-tormented spirit that refuses to let her escape.
Jessabelle is an American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Ben Garant. The film stars Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter, David Andrews, Amber Stevens and Ana de la Reguera. The film was released on November 7, 2014.
A young woman recuperating at her father's run-down home after a tragic accident soon encounters a terrifying presence with a connection to her long-deceased mother.
The movie opens with Jessie moving into her fiance’s house. On the way there, they have a car accident, killing the fiance, causing Jessie to have a miscarriage and leaving her unable to walk. The hospital makes Jessie call her Dad (whom she hasn’t seen for years) to pick her up. Back at her Dad’s house in St. Francis, Louisiana, Jessie is given her mother’s room. Her mother died when she was just a baby, ostensibly from cancer. That night she sees a girl in her bedroom. But when she reaches out to her, she disappears.
While looking around the room one day, she finds some video tapes in a box labeled "Jessabelle." She plays one and watches her mother talking to Jessabelle. On the video, her mother gives her a reading using tarot cards. The first card is Death, which her mother says means "transition". The next card says that she has never left St. Francis and that she is never going to leave — which is untrue for Jessie. The third card is Water. Her mother wonders if she is a swimmer, which is again untrue. She reads that Jessie is not alone, that there is a presence in the house with her, a female who wants her out of the house. Jessie’s dad shows up then and destroys the tape; he takes her wheelchair away and throws it in the bayou, warning her not to go snooping anymore.
That night she has a dream where she is taken away, by two men, to different rooms of the house. In the one room she sees a burnt man pouring sand onto the floor forming a strange image. She awakens in a panic to see the girl rolling towards her in a wheelchair. The girls reaches out to Jessie. Jessie then screams and the figure disappears.
The next day she sees that her Dad has left her mother’s old wheelchair for her, apologizing to her. When he goes out, Jessie watches the next tape. On it her mother says she spoke to her friend Moses about the reading. Her mother tells Jessie that he said the presence is a demon, and she should stop blaming herself for an accident that happened. Her mother then gives her another reading. Death comes up again, meaning transition, but further reading shows a very horrible death.
The next day a physiotherapist comes and puts her in a bath. After a short while she falls asleep, and the bath fills with blood. The ghost is sitting across from her. She reaches for the bracelet on Jessie’s wrist but when Jessie starts to hum, the ghost attacks her. Her Dad comes back and everything vanishes; it appears to have been a hallucination. He tells the physiotherapist to leave and finds the other tape. He tries to burn them but gets locked in his shed and is burned to death. At his funeral, Jessie meets her old friend Preston (Marc Webber). She then sees the burnt man from her nightmare and she faints. She goes to lunch with Preston (who turns out to be married), shows him the tapes and tells him about her nightmares. Later she watches more tapes. One of them is of her parents at Christmas and another is of her mother telling Jessabelle that she is already dead. The ghost then begins attacking Jessie, again leading to her discovery of another tape in the wall.
The next day Jessie and Preston notice a glittering light across the bayou. They investigate and find lots of voodoo objects and a grave named Jessabelle. They dig up the grave and find a small coffin with a babys skeleton in it. They call the police who take the bones to be examined. Preston takes Jessie to see her parent’s old cook, who begins chanting a voodoo song to allow spirits to possess people. Afterwards they go to find Moses, but instead find a shrine for him in an old dilapidated shed. While there, a group of men find them, attack Preston and tell them to leave. Preston takes Jessie home to get her things so she can stay at his mother’s, but he is attacked by the ghost. Jessie then learns that the baby was biracial girl who was murdered after birth, leading her to believe she needs saving. When she is alone, she tries to talk to the ghost. She finds the last tape on the coffee table and plays it. She sees a white baby and the babys mother. At first it looks as if the mother will kill the baby but instead she curses her with a voodoo spell and then shoots herself.
Her mother’s spirit then appears to her, and she realizes that the "Jessabelle" her mother had been talking about on the tapes was not Jessie, but rather Jessies mothers baby through an affair with Moses, the man who appeared to be on fire. Jessabelle was biracial, leading to the discovery of her mother’s affair, and Jessies father had become enraged and killed the baby as well as Moses, and adopted Jessie to cover up Jessabelles murder. Mosess spirit then appears and together with her mother, they tie Jessie up and push her into the bayou. Jessabelle then swims up to Jessie and takes the bracelet off her wrist, resurfacing in the form of Jessie. Preston pulls her out of the water and carries her over into the house, in the manner of newlyweds. When the Sheriff asks "Jessie" if she is alright—calling her Miss Laurent—she replies with a sly look, “Its Jessabelle.”Sarah Snook as Jessie Laurent
Mark Webber as Preston Sanders
David Andrews as Leon Laurent
Joelle Carter as Kate Laurent
Ana de la Reguera as Rosaura
Amber Stevens as Jessabelle
Larisa Oleynik as Samantha
Chris Ellis as Sheriff Pruitt
Brian Hallisay as Mark
Lucius Baston as Mr. Woods
Jason Davis as Surgeon
Paul Shaplin as Actor
Barbara Weetman as Nurse Carson
Millie Wannamaker as Hospital Visitor
Christopher Cozort as Hospital Patient
Vaughan Wilson as Moses
Greutert was approached to direct Jessabelle a year after the release of Saw 3D and after reading through the script, Greutert agreed to direct. Filming was initially meant to take place in Louisiana, where the film is set, but was forced to move to Wilmington, North Carolina after no appropriate filming location could be located. Greutert edited the film on his own and initially the film was slated to release on January 10, 2014, The film was later pushed back to an August 29 release date before it was given a limited theatrical and video-on-demand release on November 7.
Critical reception for Jessabelle has been predominantly negative and the film holds a 24% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 21 reviews) with the consensus "Jessabelle hints at a bright future for star Sarah Snook, but clouds her performance with a cliched—and tasteless—storyline.". Slant Magazine and IGN both panned the film, with IGN stating that "Jessabelles familiar trickery and repetitive screams sucks the life out of a promising Southern bayou atmosphere." Fangoria was somewhat more positive in their review, writing "If the buildup is more satisfying than the payoff, JESSABELLE remains a creditable attempt to do something a little different and down-to-Earth on the paranormal scene."