January is only halfway over, but I have already had the opportunity to watch some great horror flicks this year.  I am happy to report this trend continues with JESSABELLE, a recent release from Lionsgate.  Part ghost-story and part mystery, this film is a well-executed foray into horror.  And although the plot might sound simple, don’t worry:  this film has several twists and turns that will keep you enthralled throughout its entirety.

If you are not familiar with JESSABELLE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return and clearly has no intention of letting her escape.

This movie grabbed me from the start and never let go.  I was surprised with how quickly I was immersed into it as well; most films take a few minutes to get me ensnared.  This one somehow yanked me into its depths from the start.  This is a testament to how entertaining and effective the film is.

JESSABELLE is shot well and contains some excellent scenery of the southern Louisiana bayous.  The isolated locale of the house sets the perfect tone for the story and enhances the foreboding feel that permeates throughout it.  Even the house itself, with its rundown semi-Victorian feel, offers a bit of tension that lingers in the air.

The acting is very good, with actress Sarah Snook portraying the lead character.  I don’t recall seeing her in anything prior to this film, however I am making a note to look for her work in the future.  She is a talented and beautiful actress, and I hope to see more of her in the future.

There are not many special effects in the film, however the few we get to see look great.  I particularly like the nightmare sequences and how eerie they appear.  The effects team does a great job of conveying a lot of feeling with minimal imagery.  You have to see the film to truly understand.

The plot of JESSABELLE is excellent, and as I mentioned above it contains a couple of nice twists.  My favorite is the conclusion, where the ‘big reveal’ is disclosed.  I did not see it coming, and I started grinning as the credits rolled.  I’ve read some reviews where the reviewer did not like the ending, however I loved it.  It is clever and masterfully crafted.  

JESSABELLE is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice ghost story.  The movie is fairly clean as well (even for a PG-13 rating), so younger horror fans might enjoy this one, too (obviously, look at the Parents Guide online to see what it contains before you decide).  The film is already available in a variety of formats, so give it a look.