The Possession Film Review
Catholicism and Christianity have always been the main focus of religious horrors with varying degrees of success; from the good (The Exorcist), to the bad (The Last Exorcism), to the downright awful (The Devil Inside). Sooner or later they were bound to be substituted for a different religion. Sure enough, The Possession has seamlessly transferred this to Judaism – unfortunately taking the bad with it.
It all looked so promising, ticking the boxes from fanboy producer Sam Raimi (The Grudge) to a cast of fine actors in the form of Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer). Despite desperately wanting it to succeed, it was only ever going to warrant an acknowledgement that you’ve ‘seen it’.
From the opening credits, you are thrust into the evilness of an intricately carved and very creepy-looking wooden box, seeing the previous owner mysteriously and brutally (or comically, depending how you look at it) assaulted by what one assumes to be the power of it. It makes for slightly uncomfortable viewing but it’s here where the story starts to unfold.
A slightly self-absorbed, highly emotional divorcee father Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has just moved into a brand new place (cue creepy house on a brand new estate with no greenery and apparently no fellow residents). His two daughters who visit at the weekend are thrown in to pull at the heartstrings. Going further, the youngest one, Emily (Natasha Calis), is drawn to the box which is being sold at said previous owner’s house furnishing sale. She is subsequently possessed, ensuring Clyde’s desperate attempts to exorcise his daughter, with the aid of ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and a hipster orthodox Jew.
You can gather from this that the whole plotline is basically your run-of-the-mill, dad-on-a-mission-to-save-his-daughter story. Frustratingly though, he seems to be the only person concerned by his daughter’s violent change of character, believing it to be something more sinister, whereas everyone else suspects nothing until it’s too late. The ending is one you can spot a mile away, so it does poetically close off the film the same way it started – ridiculously. It must also be noted that the score is nonsensically out of kilter, with inappropriate beats of an action film in place of what should have been something to compliment the supposed scares.
In short, this is a stab at refreshing the old sub-genre horror about “possession”. It succeeds to a certain degree as there are a few standout moments all involving people’s mouths – it’s just a shame that the remainder of the film is predictable, plodding and not very inspired.
The Possession is ideal if you’re looking for something to give you the chills at a lukewarm temperature. But for more sophisticated horror enthusiasts, this is perhaps one to watch when there is nothing else on the box.