The Possession Review
September 28, 2012
With the Hallowe'en holiday season almost upon us, there are a number predictably poor films in keeping with the festivities. Despite the promising advertising, producer Sam Rami's The Possession is pretty bad. Not as bad as The Devil Inside though, thankfully.
Every year, far too many films are released that are supposedly based upon true events. Horrors inspired by things that really happened, and the sadly tiresome mockumentaries that are released every autumn, are becoming boring. Sold as a Sam Rami film, I at least expected The Possession to be of the same level of spookiness as Paranormal Activity. Instead, it evoked The Devil Inside; a boring film sparse on the scares. That’s not to say the idea behind it didn’t give me nightmares; I still had to sleep with the lights on.
Odd things start to happen to Em (Natasha Calls) after she buys an antique box from a yard sale; behaviour put down to the stress of her parents’ marital breakdown. But when her increasingly erratic behaviour and strange infatuation with the box starts to get out of hand, her parents (Jeffery Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) begin to suspect something more sinister is afoot. With the help of some good old fashioned internet research, her father, Clyde, discovers the box was built to contain a Dybbuk; a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.
Although not as painful as The Devil Inside; The Possession is still terrible. Progressively predictable, it’s underwhelming until the substandard scary bits creep up on you with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Yet I still find the idea of a possessed child a little unnerving, especially owing to my subsequent bad dreams. Calls as Em is worryingly competent at playing a cursed child; her scenes are easily the best of a bad bunch. The bathroom scene depicted in the trailer stood out as one of the finest; where the Dybbuk peeks out from the back of her throat. Unfortunately, this only confirms that The Possession has fallen victim the “best bits are in the trailer” category of cinema.
Much in the way that Jaws isn’t really about a shark, The Possession is a pretty good film about a divorce. Of course it would have been much better without the disjointed depiction of the malicious spirit, but at least I have director Ole Bornedal to thank for not creating another terrible found footage film.
When the barely 15 year old girls sitting in the row behind provokes more scares than The Possession’s screen time, it’s a pretty poor start to 2012’s Hallowe’en season. With the seriously spooky looking Sinister and the promising, if predictable, Paranormal Activity 4 out in time for the haunting holiday; things can only get better. Right?