Release Date: 30 August 2012
Running Time: 91 minutes
Distributor: GSC Movies
Director: Ole Bornedal
Screenplay: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Starring: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport
Plot Synopsis: Based on a true story, The Possession is the terrifying account of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.
On the visit to a yard sale for Clyde’s new house in the city outskirt, Emily bought the wooden box, unaware of the haunting nature. Soon, she becomes attached and infatuated to the box. Strange things begin to happen and even the innocent Emily starts to demonstrate violent and extreme behaviours, as well as being possessive about the box. Clyde notices Emily’s changes, decides to consult the expert, only to learn that the wooden box is a nest for a possession spirit which claims the lives of the innocent children who come contact with it. In a race against time, he hires a Jewish rabbi Tzadok (Matisyahu) to help him to get rid of the evil.
The Possession does not look like a genuine summer movie after all. As it literally copies The Exorcist on the thematic features and premises, it also feels more like a moderate episode of Twilight Zone or The X-Files. Nevertheless, director Ole Bornedal pushes in a well-built movie that even with the lack of originality and deafening horror elements, it is still a solid flick. The Possession is unlike any other horror films that haunt first before start to explain things right at the end. Writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White carefully build the story arc up, slowly while letting the daunting exposition to go parallel.
It is a sad truth however that The Possession never has the boldness to approach new perspectives. Obviously, nothing we have not seen before and this haunt-consult-exorcist formula is generic and all too familiar. It certainly does not help either with the fact that so much of its horror toned down leading to an unsatisfying horror experience. It was reported that the movie was heavily edited to get a PG13 rating, instead of the original cut which came with a harder R-rating. Hence, The Possession is a tame horror movie, a shamefully far away from Sam Raimi’s iconic works like Drag Me To Hell.
The Possession does benefit from strong acting. The adult players like Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick are charismatic; fuelled by some extent of professionalism and proper emoticons. Newcomer Natasha Calis provides a clear vicinity of fresh face and believable performance too.
In the end, The Possession comes with a solid foundation of well-built plot and strong acting performances, but also proven to be shaky due to its predictable plot and tame scares. The single greatest moment of all is when Emily appears like the usual Japanese ghost who maniacal saying “Daddy, you scared me! Muahahaha.”