Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Possession

Directed by Ole Bornedal.
2012. Rated PG-13, 92 minutes.
Natasha Calis
Madison Davenport
Grant Show
Rob LaBelle
Nana Gbewonyo
Anna Hagan
Brenda Crichlow

Clyde (Morgan) is divorced and gets his two daughters Hannah (Davenport) and Em (Calis) on weekends. While out and about with the young ladies, he stops at a yard sale. While there, Em takes a liking to an old box that dad happily buys for her. She quickly becomes obsessed with this and eventually possessed by the evil spirit that lives within it. Moths, lots of moths ensue.

It’s all fairly typical of the other umpteen thousand rip-offs of The Exorcist. Rarely, if ever, does it deviate from the playbook. Instead, we barrel along while the movie performs the same old song and dance we know so well. The only real question is whether or not Em is going to spew pea soup all over someone and/or rotate her head 360 degrees. Neither of these happen. All kidding aside, our hope for this movie rests on its visuals. Throughout the movie they’re fairly ho-hum with nothing to provide a jolt. There are two exceptions. Both have to do with a hand coming out of Em’s throat. Yup, I said coming out of. Otherwise, it’s all conventional horror stuff. The only thing that might even remotely qualify as original are those two shots I’ve alluded to. One other minor twist is that our demon is apparently of the Jewish faith. Therefore our exorcism is performed by a rabbi. However, changing our clergyman’s costume to include a yamika instead of a collar is of little consequence.

Despite all I’ve said, The Possession isn’t actually terrible. Yes, it’s totally paint-by-numbers. However, it hits its marks fairly well. Those easily susceptible to frights will have cause to jump a couple times. The performances of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Natasha Calis (as Em) are both pretty good. Madison Davenport isn’t bad as the older daughter, either. Honestly though, I’m only mentioning her so that I can tell you that she looks like Lindsay Lohan during the years between The Parent Trap and Mean Girls. All in all, it’s probably a better movie for people who don’t watch much horror. Those of us that do have seen it all before.

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