Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
“The Possession” is basically a cautionary tale about what happens when you wear cheap jewelry. Directed by Ole Bornedal and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (or a poor man’s Javier Bardem) Kyra Sedgwick (a poor woman’s actress) and Matisyahu (he’s still around?) this “horror” story centers around a divorced couple with joint custody of their two daughters. One day (on daddy’s watch) the younger daughter stumbles upon an antique jewelry-esque box at a garage sale. Little does she know that the box contains a “malicious ancient spirit”, and it doesn’t take long for the box to begin to change how the little girl acts around her parents and to have creepy fingers coming out of her mouth (you’ve seen the trailers). After that, we get a story where Jeffrey Dean Morgan is running around frantically trying to find out why his daughter is constantly speaking in an annoying demon voice. But will he be able to cure her before the demon takes over his child’s body? And more importantly: Will the “malicious ancient spirit” be the thing that could possibly mend this broken family? All of these questions, and more, will be answered in “The Possession”. Did I just make it all sound like a bad TV show? Good, since all “The Possession” delivers is an ABC Family after-school special, with demons in it. And therein lies its flaw. Now, are there moments of creepiness? Yes, there are (mostly in the visually engaging climax) but all in all, the story itself is far too simplistically tame and awkwardly silly to be a scary, or even well done, possession story.
In Short: The movie is filled with unintentionally comical moments, the acting is pretty terrible across the board (I realize that nobody is going to watch “The Possession” for the acting, but…) and the story is completely a horror story by-the-numbers. In fact, there is really nothing to like (or be scared about) here until a final half-hour, which surprisingly showcases a visual final sequence which was actually scary.
Side Note: This movie is not altogether as bad as it could have been, BUT if one is going to enjoy a film like “The Possession”, the biggest piece of advice I could give would be, do not (DO NOT) fall into the trap of analyzing the validity of the storyline (as this is supposedly “based on a true story”) because if you do, this film will fall apart upon contact. Riddled with insanely obvious plot-holes, “The Possession” could be seen (by some) as a scary movie for people who thought “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was far too complicated. And that would explain why I did slightly begin to enjoy this film once I turned my brain off and focused solely on the visuals.
Final Thought: Proclaiming “The Possession” as the Jewish “Exorcist”, as many critics may have a tendency to do, may be more than a bit of a misnomer. I would say that “The Possession” is more like a dumbed down version of “The Exorcist”. And again, while this film has its moments that do show off Bornedal’s ability to construct a very visually disturbing ending (saving it from being just another one-star movie on Netflix) the story itself is suffocated by its own PG-13 plot so much so, that by the time anything scary happens, many audiences will have completely given up on this film.
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