Review:  ‘Ava’s Possessions’ shows it can get tiresome playing with demons

Louisa Krause in "Ava's Possessions."
(Momentum Pictures)

Horror-comedy “Ava’s Possessions” is powered by an amusing conceit that configures demonic possession as a metaphor for addiction. But the metaphor alone is not enough to sustain this minor effort, which wears thin over the course of a feature length.

Louisa Krause plays Ava, in recovery from her demonic possession, dutifully attending meetings of SPA — Spirit Possession Anonymous. Written and directed by Jordan Galland, the script relies on yuk-yuk-style puns for laughs. “I can handle my spirits,” she quips, sipping a glass of wine; about a failed blind date: “He can’t handle my inner demons.”

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The plot finds Ava attempting to unravel the mysteries of what she did and what happened to her while under the influence of darker forces. The film’s aesthetic feels decidedly ‘90s indie retro, with hazy neon-colored lighting bathing the cast in shades of pink, purple and blue, canted camera angles, and a score by Sean Lennon filled with twanging guitars that seems to be influenced by Chris Isaak by way of David Lynch.


Krause is a winsome leading lady, and the best moments come during the SPA meetings, where the filmmakers lean into the addiction metaphor. Among a deep supporting cast including Carol Kane, Dan Fogler and Jemima Kirke, Annabelle Dexter-Jones stands out as a fellow woman possessed, who wants nothing more than to be reunited with her demons.


‘Ava’s Possessions’

MPAA rating: R, for language, some sexual content and bloody images

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood