Today: February 23, 2024

The Possession

By – Sean Mowle – The Possession is the latest

By – Sean Mowle

The Possession is the
latest horror film to be produced by Sam Raimi (Drag Me To Hell) and on that
basis you would hope it would come with some credibility.
Sadly, having
a respected director’s name above the title isn’t always a guarantee of high
quality entertainment.

Supposedly based on a true story, The Possession stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen’s The Comedian) as Clyde, a
father recently separated from his wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick, Man on a Ledge) and their two young children. While
on a weekend visit his eldest daughter Em (Natasha
) buys a strange antique wooden box carved with what looks like Hebrew
text on the sides from a yard sale.
As you do. It’s unclear as to how the box opens but she manages to
discover a secret lock and unwittingly unleashes a long imprisoned spirit. So
far, so Hellraiser. Just not as much fun. As the film progresses and Em’s
behaviour becomes ever more erratic, we discover that the box actually
contained a Dybbuk, a malevolent, child-possessing ancient spirit that uses
Em’s body as a host. Before you know it she’s moody and distant, eating too
fast, fighting at school and stabbing her father with a fork. Pretty much EVERY TEENAGE GIRL on the planet then.
It’s only when she starts chucking up moths with wild abandon that her family
think something might be amiss.

Dutch director Ole Bornedal,
best known for both the original Nightwatch
movie and its US remake, does his best with the one-dimensional script. There’s
nothing inherently wrong with the film, it’s just that there’s not much to make
it stand out from the many other similarly themed horror films. It’s really a
Jewish The Exorcist with an ancient
Hebrew demon as the antagonist and a young orthodox Jew as the last resort
exorcist (incidentally played by Jewish rapper Matisyahu). The set pieces don’t really elevate the film out of the
average and the scenes in the hospital MRI scanner are just plain silly. Where does Hollywood go next? The face
of Beelzebub appearing on your dental x-rays? And to be honest the moment
you see the box it just screams ‘Sequel!’ Let’s hope we don’t end up with The Possession 10: Hanukkah From Hell! The
ending leaves a lot to be desired too and the exorcism itself seems be over in
a few minutes (Catholic exorcisms are just so much more fun!) leaving the viewer distinctly underwhelmed. The father even
gets to utter the usual “Take me, take me instead,” lines and guess what….

So, next time you’re in Oxfam and you see an odd looking cigar box with May Contain Demon carved on the front,
maybe give it a miss and buy that nice suit jacket instead.

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