THE POSSESSION (2012) Review

Directed by: Ole Bornedal
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis

THE POSSESSION is yet another supernatural film using the term ‘based on true events’ which as we all know is code speak for ‘95% bullshit’. The ‘real’ story is available online to read and makes for an interesting story but that’s about all it is, because as far as I can tell there’s no real proof that anything evil or supernatural happened at all. But I digress…

Originally to be titled DIBBUK BOX, the movie is about a mysterious box bought at a yard sale (bought on eBay in the real life story) by a young girl. Unbeknownst to the girl the box houses a Dibbuk (some sort of Jewish demon spirit) and after she opens it strange shit starts to go down. Her father begins doing some investigating and eventually enrolls a Rabbi to help.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it really has no point and didn't need to be made at all. I know that may sound harsh but it’s true. There are plenty of other movies which tell the same story much better than this and just because this is based on ‘true’ events or because it has a fancy new name for a demon doesn't make it any different from just about every other possession / exorcism film out there. It has all of the key elements; a young girl, strange happenings around the house, insects, strange voices, and a climax involving a risky ritual to try and exorcise the demon. I can see that people might appreciate its Jewish angle but all that meant to me was that a Rabbi performed the exorcism instead of a priest.

THE POSSESSION is basically a generic, predictable and cliché-filled supernatural thriller with nothing noteworthy, nothing to distinguish it from all of the other similar films out there. And even worse is the fact that it’s not scary at all.

And somehow the pointlessness of this film is worse than if it had just been a terrible movie, because then at least I might have had something to laugh at. Instead THE POSSESSION is like an old story that I've heard countless times over and which has grown more stale and boring with each retelling.

After buying this mysterious box the girl begins acting strangely although nothing yet to suggest she’s being possessed. I actually found the first half of the film to be a lot better and more interesting than the second half. It contained more of the creepy, atmospheric scenes like the room full of moths. But of course eventually the interesting parts give way to more clichés and predictable sequences and soon you can already see how the film is going to end.

One good thing I can say about THE POSSESSION is that it looks good. It has some good cinematography, a creepy atmosphere in parts and the special effects looked decent. It also has some solid acting from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the father and not too bad a performance by Natasha Calis playing the possessed girl Em.

But that’s about as far as the positives go. With nothing new or original this is a movie that never really needed to be made. It also had a lot of unresolved plot points and missed opportunities throughout the story. If you’re a hardcore fan of these possession / exorcism movies and you need to see them all then by all means go ahead. But if you’re (like me) more than a little tired of all of these disappointing supernatural flicks of late then I would recommend staying away. At least it's not as bad as some of the other similar films which came out last year (I'm looking at you THE APPARITION!) but it definitely was not great.

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