The Possession (2012) Directed by Ole Bornedal. Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, & Natasha Calis. IMDB says: ”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.”
Whoever edited the trailer for this film did a phenomenal job. I was excited to see this film from the time I first saw the preview a few months ago which makes the disappointment all the more aggravating. If you plan to watch The Possession do not rewatch the trailer. It is literally a string of practically every single scene in the movie and leaves almost nothing new to see in theaters. Even some of the plot twists are so heavily hinted in the trailer that they never come off as a surprise.
This is the most recent entry into the possession horror genre and it offers almost nothing refreshing. A young girl, Em, finds a Dybbuck box at a yard sale which is unfortunate because the box contains a malevolent spirit that would like nothing more than to inhabit Em’s body. Her parents (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) have to find a way to help their daughter when the inevitable happens (I mean it’s in the title–obviously she has to get possessed). She also has an older sister that mostly is there to be Em’s foil as the bitchy sister to make Em seem super sweet and innocent… and to dance.
The Jewish influences on the plot offer the only interesting aspects. The Dybbuck box is based on Jewish folklore and the exorcism is attempted by a Jewish Orthodox man (played by Matisyahu). It was at least a change to have the possession based in a different religion than Christianity, but it still wasn’t handled well enough for it to resonant in any way.
The pacing and editing of this movie are the worst parts. Scenes build up to big moments with a loud, intense score to accompany it but before they have a chance to climax they cut off. Usually it cuts to an overhead establishing shot of the next scene with the same droning bell-like note. It’s incredibly tiresome and unwelcome after the second time, let alone after you realize almost every scene transition is going to do it.
The whole ordeal is tiresome. Nothing in this film is unexpected. Nothing even really works. The disturbing imagery in the trailer doesn’t even have a similar effect in the film because the surrounding scenes and build up are boring and predictable. It didn’t help that throughout the film the audience was laughing out loud at some of the more emotional moments because they just were not effective. The ending sequence attempts to go all out with the scares but at that point there’s no tension to back it up.
Do yourself a favor and skip this movie. So far this year the horror selection hasn’t been fantastic (not including Cabin in the Woods which was awesome obviously) and this is the worst of what I’ve seen. It’s tedious, lame, poorly executed, completely lifeless, and worst of all not the least bit scary.