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Archive for the ‘Possession’ Category

The Possession

When I first saw the trailer for The Possession I thought, “Great. Here we go again.  Another little girl gets possessed.  Her head spins around, and she gets exorcised in a lame attempt at channeling The Exorcist.”  I had no plans on seeing the film.  Then accidentally I saw that critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars.  I didn’t read the review, but thought “Well that’s interesting.”  I also saw another critic tweet that, “The Possession gave him faith in horror films again.”  Well what the hell is going on with this movie?  Horror is a dead genre as far as I am concerned.  I can count on one hand the number of great horror films that have come out in the past 20 years and still have fingers left, but maybe I should give this a shot.  So I popped down my $9.50 at the ticket window, sat down in the theater, and after 90 minutes I realized….I was right all along.

The Possession stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Watchman) and Kyra Sedgwick (Singles, TV’s The Closer) as divorced couple Clyde and Stephanie.  They’ve been separated almost a year, and split time with their two daughters, Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport).  Clyde is a basketball coach that has just purchased a new house, moving out of the apartment he has been living in.  Picking up the girls one day for a weekend with him, they stop at a garage sale to get some things to fill the house with.  Em finds an ornate wooden box with strange writings carved in to it.  They get it for cheap, and Em takes it to her new home with her.

Em becomes drawn to the box which speaks to her.  She soon becomes so possessive of the box that it starts to control her actions, making her act in strange ways.  Strange things also begin to happen around her, and to the people that she comes in contact with.  We slowly learn about the truth of the box as Clyde tries to find a way to help his daughter.  Of course no one believes him, especially not his wife.

I will say this, Natasha Calis is pretty great as Em, going from a sweet innocent 10 year old, to a raging hell child over the course of the film.  The acting overall is really good too, and it’s pretty much the only thing that keeps the film entertaining for the most part.  I’ve liked Jeffrey Dean Morgan in everything I’ve seen him in, and he continues to be great in this.

The problem is that we’ve seen this all before.  We’ve seen it over and over and over again.  We’ve seen the exact same story before.  We’ve seen the spooky girl.  We’ve seen all the scary/spooky queues in the film before.  It further emphasizes the fact that the horror genre is so watered down and unoriginal.  If you want to see an original horror film go see Cabin In The Woods right now.  That is how to make this an interesting genre again.

I’m not sure what those critics saw in the film, but it’s your run of the mill horror/possession film.  It has some stylistic flair here in there from director Ole Bornedal who directly channels The Exorcist, and also some of the editing techniques that made The Shining (the scariest movie ever in my opinion) so terrifying.  It’s not a poorly made film.  That’s not what makes it so/so.  It’s the fact that we’ve seen this story at least 1000 times, and no one will ever be able to make it as interesting or scary as The Exorcist.  I wish directors would just stop trying.

Grade: C+