The Possession – Movie Review


 The Possession (2012)


It’s a moot point whether the world really needs another movie about the demonic possession of a little girl; or even possession of anyone if it comes to that.  It doesn’t matter because here is indeed yet one more, nor is it likely to be the last.

Director Ole Bornedal’s  The Possession (good title!  Think tank was it, lads?) isn’t too likely to throw anyone any surprises and there’s little here that hasn’t been seen before; but it’s not really going to disappoint you either.  It’s competent and does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a film about a possession and for once we’re not getting into mad Catholicism but Jewish mumbo jumbo, just for a change of pace.  Anyway, it wasn’t likely to go too far wrong with Sam Raimi along as one of the producers.

Sports coach Clyde Brenek (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a man who’s on a hiding to nothing, really.  He seems like a nice enough bloke, if a bit of a doormat, but boy is the poor sod lumbered with a beauty of a family!

He has a couple of young daughters, the moody but basically all right Em (Natasha Calis), and her sister Hannah (Madison Davenport).  Hannah is one of those dreadful kids that make you so happy that you don’t have any.  She’s a little smart-ass and gets a kick out of stirring things up for her old man.  Unfortunately she’s not the brat that’s about to become possessed.  Due to Clyde’s extraordinary run of bad luck it’s the other one.  So now he’s got two demons on his hands.

Wait, there’s also their mother, so we better make that three.  Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) is his divorced wife and what a royal pain in the butt this one is.  She seems to specialise in tormenting the poor guy, no matter how hard he tries.  She’s also one of those know-alls when it comes to what kind of food everyone should be eating and Clyde has a list of instructions stapled to his arm as to what to feed his ungrateful offspring when they come to stay with him.  Something which he is inexplicably happy about, by the way. ( This film may claim to be ‘based on a true story’ but I really found that part hard to swallow.)

Stephanie reminds me of one of those awful vegetarian types who are having a field day in Ireland at the moment, waving their fingers and pointing them at we savage meat-eaters for finding out that some of our burgers have horsemeat in them.  They don’t seem to understand that we don’t care.  OK, perhaps we were under the illusion that we were getting a lot more horse than we are, but at least this week has been a start.  So button it, veggie bores, we’re still going to be eating meat in huge quantities!

Where was I?  Oh yes, anti-pizza and all around killjoy Stephanie has herself a new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show), a dentist with the perfect name—he actually looks like a Brett, whatever you imagine a Brett to look like– who is right alongside her in the insufferable stakes.  So all in all you’d think that old Clyde would be doing a dance at getting shot of the whole lot of them.  But no; instead he takes his two kids to a yard sale and this is where his life moves from pretty- miserable- but- manageable to outright hell- on- earth.

You see, Em takes a shine to a certain box with Hebrew markings on it; and because we viewers have seen the film’s prologue—as well as the fact that we’re confirmed horror movie buffs—we know that nothing good can come from buying mysterious artefacts from garage sales, especially when there’s a bandaged lady at the window doing everything expect to cry:  “DOOMED!  YOU’RE ALL DOOMED!”

And so it proves.  It turns out to be something called a ‘dybbuk box’ and by the time that Clyde is running around like a mad thing, trying to get a Jewish exorcist for himself, we know that our feelings were right.

On the way we get treated to the general things that tend to happen to and around kids who are possessed; and as I said earlier it may not be overly original but it is quite eerie on occasion and rather effectively done.  Screenwriters Juliet Snowdon and Stiles White play it straight and keep it interesting. Although they would have been advised to drop the unintentionally humorous dialogue between father and daughter when Em warns him to stay away from her box.  “No one has the right to touch my box but me”, she wails.  Quite.  Creepy and funny at the same time.

One more thing:  The Possession may not have the same pretensions as the Anthony Hopkins film of a couple of years ago, the more high-profile The Rite; but it is a damned sight more enjoyable.





Author: Charley Brady

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