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.
Another year, another exorcism movie. That seems to be the case for quite some time now. After the relatively good ‘Exorcism of Emily Rose’ and the lackluster ‘The Last Exorcism’, this year brings us The Possession.
Right when the movie started we get the all too familiar ‘This story is based on real events’ which had a large part of the crowd giggling already.
Those real events mentioned are based on a story which hit the internet a few years ago. Originally an article in the LA Times, it told a story about a box which carried a demon. The people in possession of the box would experience such things as broken bones, bad luck and similar ‘supernatural’ happenings. This was never backed up by any real evidence, so rest assured that the aforementioned box (Jewish name: Dibbuk) is not around to fuck up your life..probably.
The movie follows the lives of a torn up family, consisting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clyde, the dad of 2 daughters called Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport), who once were a family. His ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) is now seeing a new man, and it’s a few months after the break-up when we meet the family. Clyde is basically your cliched movie dad, a nice guy who we clearly need to love as an audience, opposed to the bitchy Stephanie. Im actually a bit torn on Jeffrey Dean Morgan. By most people he’s often referred to as the poor man’s Javier Bardem, which isn’t really fair to him as he can definitely act. Unfortunately, in this cliched role he has, there’s not much honor to claim.
Anyway, we meet up with them (right after we see the titular box ‘talking’ to an old lady and killing her shortly after) and after a drive back to Clyde’s new place they stop over at a yard sale. His youngest daughter Em sees the Dibbuk box and buys it, setting in motion all of the events we bought a ticket for. Shortly after taking it home the talking of the box starts, since it can’t be opened in a conventional way, it starts opening on itself and from there on out we get a by the numbers tale about poor Em getting more and more obsessed with the box.
In all fairness, up until that point, the movie does a lot right. The box as an entity is frightening enough, because we have no clue what’s inside of it (in terms of a demon or otherwise) and the art direction is wonderful. The house of Clyde, the little girl, the ominous music, all have been handled quite well by relative newcomer Ole Bornedal. But just when I got a little glimmer of hope that this could turn out to be good, it quickly moves into the all too familiar exorcism grounds.
You could say that it’s a testament to the sheer force of ‘The Exorcist’ since were now almost 40 years removed from its initial release, but you can’t tell me that there isn’t a possibility for a good exorcism movie.
Em starts turning into the demon that tries to take hold of her, and it’s pretty much right at the point when the scene from this photo takes place that it starts to go downhill. If you’ve seen the trailer (or even the poster) you have one of the most frightening scenes ruined for you, since you know what’s coming. And the rest of the time is spent wondering how long it’ll take the family to jump to the conclusion that she’s indeed infected with Linda Blair syndrome. It never becomes truely frightening on any level, the box is creepy yet never fully realised since it’s (over the course of 90 minutes) thrown away, kicked at and sold in a yard sale.
But the most cringeworthy thing of all is when the obvious exorcism scene starts and Clyde remembers a lower floor in the hospital where it can take place. Cue the bathtub filled with water, the stale white walls, and lots of room to put in some exorcism scenes, it feels cheap and out of place.
Ofcourse the movie ends in that same cliched way when the box is conquered yet in the final frame strikes back. With the new Ethan Hawke movie ‘Sinister’ on it’s way, which is creating a lot of great buzz, I think it’s best to save up for that movie to get a proper chance of seeing a memorable horror movie this year.
If you insist on venturing out to see this, remember you’ll get what you paid for and keep in mind that if you love horror, you’ve seen this movie 20 times before.
A shoutout must be made to Natasha Calis though, she plays the role of Em convincingly and manages to steer away from a lot that went wrong with this picture.
Finally, to close off, one of the most blatant plotholes found is when the ex wife’s boyfriend (his name is not of importance) gets his teeth ripped out by black eyeliner wearing Em and drives off. He’s quite prominently featured in the movie throughout, yet once he drives off we never hear from him again. What’s that about mr. Bornedal?
The Possession featured a box, they should have said it was the one filled with unoriginal crap.