Movie Review – Possession, The


– Summary –

Director :   Ole Bornedal
Year Of Release :   2012
Principal Cast :  Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgewick, Madison Davenport, Grant Show, Matishayu, Quinn Lord, Jay Brazeau, Brenda Crichlow, Ella Wade.
Approx Running Time :  90 Minutes
Synopsis:  A young girl is possessed by a Jewish demon – a dybbuk – with her father the only one believing enough to try and save her.
What we think :  Moody, atmospheric religious thriller is supposedly based on true events, although whether the end product is in any way remotely connected or legitimate is only known to scripter Juliet Snowden. The cast perform adequately – Calis is good as the creepy possessed girl – and Bornedal’s direction is smooth without being obsequious, and the end result is an altogether puzzling mix of frights, poppycock genre cliche and Shyamalan-esque creepiness that oozes from almost every frame. Echoes of The Exorcist abound as the film progresses, which probably hinders proceedings more than it ever helps.


Hollywood has long mined the depths of religious iconography for its monsters, and The Possession slots into that category with ease. It’s hard to make a film about someone being possessed by a demon without calling up the iconic imagery of The Exorcist, mainly because that seminal film has led the charge for film-makers ever since with its foundational style and genre-establishing story points. Every film of similar ilk since owes its creepy, scary skin-tingles to The Exorcist’s blistering freakishness and oddity, The Possession perhaps more than any other in recent memory. The stories are eerily similar, at least in terms of broad-brush script elements, although the script and the direction do a lot to overcome the potential obviousness of what may or may not happen, to develop characters which feel more real than those of other recent films of this type, and to deliver some genuine chills. Sure, the film is mired in the shadows of The Exorcist’s enormous legacy, but for what it’s worth, this Exorcist-lite feature does a good job with the archetypes it’s forced to present.

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