Sep 15, 2012 / 4:00 pm
I'd like to offer a little tip on how to avoid potential demonic possession. If you purchase a strange looking box at a yard sale that has ancient Hebrew text engraved all around it and no visible means to open it, and then while holding the box you see a heavily bandaged woman staring out of the window at you and screaming and pointing at the box, you might just want to drop the sucker and run. Just sayin'.
The Possession begins by introducing us to Clyde Brenek (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an ambitious high school basketball coach, and his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick), who share two daughters that unfortunately are caught in the middle of their marital fallout. Clyde has purchased a new home and one weekend he picks up his girls to show them his new place. In bad need of some decorating, they go to a local yard sale, where the younger daughter, Emily, finds an ornate wooden box that she becomes drawn to. Of course Clyde purchases it for her and when they get it home, Emily manages to trip a hidden lock and open it, revealing its creepy contents. Unbeknownst to anyone, Emily has unleashed an ancient demonic spirit which decides to take up residence inside of her, causing very strange behaviour like aggressive bursts of anger one moment to being sullenly withdrawn the next.
Without giving too much away, Clyde realizes that the wooden box has something to do with all of this and when he shows it to a professor colleague, it's explained to him that the box is a dybbuk, which is a vessel in Jewish culture believed to be able to trap evil spirits that, when set free, will eventually drain the life out of its human host.
Basically what we have here is a Jewish themed version of The Exorcist. There have been dozens of these type of films that have come out over the years, so there is nothing really original about it. There is a disclaimer at the beginning that states that this is based on a true story. I'm pretty sure though that the filmmakers played extremely loose with the facts though since the majority of what occurs in the film is highly suspect in regards to any semblance of reality. Now, that's not to say that The Possession is a bad film, in fact it's actually a pretty creepy and frightening horror thriller that is fairly slickly produced and provides the viewers with enough jump scares to keep you entertained.
The performances are solid throughout, especially Natasha Calis, who plays Emily. She does a fine job glaring in sinister fashion and providing some creepy voices when she is possessed. Jeffrey Dean Morgan also does fine work here as a father desperate to help his little girl and defeat the evil within her.
There are some continuity problems with the film however, the most obvious one being when Emily viciously stabs Clyde in the hand with a fork and the next scene he shows no visible signs of an injury, heck, not even a bandage.
Even though The Possession isn't perfect and it features material that is all too familiar, I think that fans of this particular sub-genre of horror will find enough here to keep them squirming in their seat with some genuine scares.
You could do a lot worse.
I give The Possession a 6 out of 10.
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