|DVD The Possession
Run time: 92 min
Genres: Horror | Thriller
Director: Ole Bornedal
Writers: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Stars: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick
The basketball coach Clyde and his wife Stephanie divorced a couple of months ago and their teenage daughter Hannah and the girl Emily ‘Em’ live with their mother and spend the weekends with their father. One day, Clyde stops his car in a yard sale and Em buys an antique carved box and becomes obsessed with it. Em finds the hidden lock and releases an evil spirit that possesses her. Soon Clyde discovers that Em has a problem, but his annoying ex-wife and her boyfriend Brett do not pay attention to him and get a restraining order against Clyde. Clyde seeks out Professor McMannis and when he sees the box, he explains that it is a Dibbuk Box, where a fiend is trapped inside. He also explains that the box should not be open; otherwise the person will be possessed by the spirit. Now Clyde travels to a Jewish community in New York and the rabbi’s son Tzadok returns with him expecting to exorcise Em to save the girl. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Plot Keywords: box, yard sale, basketball coach, rabbi, jewish|
Country: USA, Canada
Release Date: 31 August 2012 (UK)
Budget: $14,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $17,732,480 (USA) (31 August 2012)
Gross: $49,122,319 (USA) (16 November 2012)
"The Possession" (2012) (great, original title, by the way) is another film in a VERY long line of demonic possession movies/"Exorcist" ripoffs, and it has nothing special or noteworthy to distinguish it from any of the others. It is a generic, largely predictable, cliché-filled thriller with little to recommend it, and is not in any way scary. Nothing the possessed little girl does in the movie is scary in any way, nor is there any real indication (until the last 10 minutes) that she is possessed by anything; she just acts like a spoiled brat, looks pale, occasionally talks in a weird voice, and throws crockery on the floor. The only reason I saw it was because of the Raimi/Tapert involvement, which must have largely consisted of penning a few signatures and not much else.
To give the film credit, the first part of the movie is kind of creepy and spooky, before the possession. The scene where they look in the girl's room and see it filled with moths was very impressive. It also had good photography and music, and was atmospheric. The basic story is that this little girl finds a weird box at a yard sale, which is filled with bizarre trinkets. She mainly spends the first half acting weird and aloof. The film admittedly does start getting a little wonky during this part, when the father character (played by Javier Bardem's twin brother, apparently) retrieves the box from his daughter's classroom, in spite of the fact that (spoiler) her teacher was murdered there the day before and the place is a crime scene.
However, when the possession element finally kicks in halfway through, the film totally lost me and became increasingly painful by the minute. Once it is suggested that the box is a Jewish relic that might contain a demon, in the very next scene, the father character is trying to exorcise his daughter using the Torah, even though no indication has been given that he's Jewish or accepts any of this stuff as factual. The film then becomes increasingly silly as the girl eats raw meat out of the fridge, smashes glasses, and yells at mommy, then says cliché junk like "WHO AM I?" Terrifying.
There are a number of unresolved plot threads in the film; for instance, the box originally belongs to an old woman who gets beat up by the evil spirit, then is shown in bandages screaming "NO! NO!" at the little girl as she takes the box away. At no point do the characters ever try to contact this woman to see what the deal with the box is. There is also a thankless sister character who is part of a hip-hop dance troupe, never referenced again after the first act. If they're going to have those, why not have the dancers all become possessed as well, or have the possessed girl kill them during a dance competition or something? And what happens to the woman's boyfriend who loses his teeth? (Admittedly, the scene where his teeth dissolve was one of the few legitimately scary parts of the film, along with seeing the demon in the MRI). But then, do the doctors also see the demon in the MRI? And the girl's dead teacher is never referenced again. And there's also a scene where the kid stabs her dad with a fork, and he's just okay in the next scene. And what about the whole child-abuse subplot? The film is a series of missed opportunities.
Finally, in the last act, when the characters must exorcise the little girl, it goes off the cliff and becomes laughably bad. They bring the girl to a basement in a hospital filled with doctors and patients, then begin yelling and screaming while the place rocks around, thunder booms, and lights go off. Does anyone else in the hospital notice this? The scene with the Rabbi doing the exorcism ritual, rocking back and forth and screaming, was unbelievably silly-looking, even if it may be an accurate representation of a Jewish ritual. Then the possessed kid runs around like a character from "Silent Hill," the father becomes possessed, but the Rabbi manages to exorcise the demon, which looks like Gollum, and put it back in the box. As a reward for this, the father gives the rabbi his brand-new, $50000 BMW, since he "doesn't want to go anywhere" (how is he going to get food?), then (spoiler) there is a ridiculously cliché ending where the Rabbi gets creamed by a Mack Truck and the box flies out, waiting for somebody else to find it. Did you get all that? Also, this film is based on a true story. Isn't it obvious?
The parallels between this film and The Exorcist are obvious even from the trailers, so I won't go too far into that. Just suffice it to say that The Possession contains none of the impact or shock value that The Exorcist has. In short, it's just not as good of a film.
However, in its own right, it's a pretty competent horror movie. The story of the central characters is kind of cliché. Husband and wife have divorced, they share custody of the children, there's a new boyfriend/girlfriend in the picture, etc. This type of set up is always convenient when dealing with a "messed up kid" film. That way whatever is wrong with the child can inevitably be blamed on the fact that the child is just not dealing well with the break up of his or her parents. And that's exactly what happens in The Possession; except there is actually something VERY wrong with the youngest daughter and it has absolutely nothing to do with her parents. Without giving away too much, the plot centers around an ancient wooden box the youngest daughter finds at a yard sale. Of course she wants it, and so she gets it. And there begins to occur some rather strange phenomena; most of them downright spooky, a couple kind of hokey.
All in all, I was pleased. This film has got good pacing, decent acting, and exceptional cinematography. There's not much I can find as a fault here. If I had to name my major complaint about this and similar movies it would be this: I'm not thrilled about the influx of PG-13 horror films. I've a suspicion this is due to a need to bring in a wider audience (younger viewers/teenagers), and make more money on ticket sales. Because of this the final product tends to be a little too watered down for my tastes. The Possession shows a lot of promise, but I can't help but wish the writers/director would have pushed the envelope a bit more; fleshed out the story. Then it would have been great. As it stands now, I'll just say it's a "good" little horror film. Nothing that will be talked about this time next year, but I consider my money well spent.
My rating: 6.5/10
So this movie was not for everyone, I personally thought this movie was great.
An exorcism movie that does not involve the devil is refreshing to see, and the experience of the movie is played out quite well in the pacing and how events unfold. The fact it features the Jewish religion over Christianity is a very nice touch, one you rarely see in a movie of this style as most people hear exorcism and assume the Catholic church. While many may complain it is too slow, and other such things let me ask you this question.
What were you expecting from a movie that was purely plot driven?
Personally the acting was also great, I could empathize with the characters and understand them. The father was just worried about his daughter, who hid her signs of the problem well until things got bad. I mean when it really showed and she was hitting the kid at school, that looked like something that night happen in school over even something small like a favorite pencil or item. There was in my opinion no weak performances in the acting, coupled with a solid and strong story makes for quite a good movie.
Lastly the execution was some of the best I had seen this far, it flowed and was not jumpy like say the bourne movies. Nothing was out of place and the movie felt creepy and eerie throughout with all of the silence that you could almost hear in many parts of it. If your looking for a truly good movie that will have you walking away satisfied this is one of them.
It is a well written, acted, and executed movie that while it may seem slow moving is well worth the watch. Think of it what you will, but I recommend this movie as one of my top ten movies of 2012.
Based on the allegedly haunted Dybbuk box, 'The Possession' is a fairly interesting watch, that works in parts & Jeffrey Dean Morgan Delivers A Super Performance! He's in Complete Form this time around!
'The Possession' Synopsis: A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.
'The Possession' works in parts. The second-hour is pretty good, but the First-Hour is slow & not very engaging. The Climax stands out, its spooky & nicely done. Juliet Snowden & Stiles White's Screenplay works in parts. Ole Bornedal's Direction is a plus-point. Cinematography & Editing are good.
Performance-Wise: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is up for top honors. He's in Complete Form this time around! Kyra Sedgwick is decent. Natasha Calis delivers aptly. Madison Davenport & Matisyahu support well.
On the whole, 'The Possession' is a fairly interesting watch.