[The Possession]
Synopsis:Clyde Breneck and his 10-year-old daughter, Em, purchase an antique box at a yard sale. Em however accidentally releases an ancient spirit from the box, that has one goal: to devour her. Clyde must now team with his ex-wife to put an end to the curse.

Cast:Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Natasha Calis.

My Thoughts:Beware The Dibbuk!

Review:Lets face it, the horror genre has run low on villains, myths, and monsters. There aren't that many studios that wanna do anything original anyways, but when you look at the material out there. A lot of it has already been used. Re-used, and then used again. Oh and...rehashed some more. One myth that has seemingly escaped this trend however, is the myth of the Dibbuk. A demon that is trapped within a special box and has strong ties to the Jewish religion. This monster was first explored in "The Unborn".

That starred Odette Yustman as a young woman who's under the threat of possession by the Dibbuk. And her friends try and save her from such a horrible fate. That movie I thought was pretty good for a mainstream, loud pop-noise and cheap thrills kinda deal. But then came "The Possession". Ole Bornedal's film, that has a single or now single (divorced) dad, in one of those tough, rough spots. He is estranged from his wife, and has 2 daughters. So he pretty much has to do everything they want so they can you know, NOT hate him. This includes buying his daughter a strange box from a yard sale.



A box which the opening scene of the film shows us. Can really make life an "interesting experience" for some people. An old woman at the very start of the movie, finds this out the hard way. Once his daughter has the box in her possession, whatever's inside soon begins to slowly merge with her body. Thus the attempted demonic possession begins. And it's up to daddy (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to sort this mess out before his daughter becomes, a..."thing" from another dimension in full. What annoys me about these demonic possession films, is the obvious racial stereotypes that will undoubtedly play out within them.

We know the affected family, will be white/anglo, and suburban. The monster, demon, or whatever. Will have a field day scaring these people because they're easy to scare due to their cushy lifestyles. Where there's rows of houses, security systems, and not even the slightest mention of a demon, demons (plural), or even the Boogeyman. Except by young boys trying to freak each other out, or impress a girl by not acting scared. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character Clyde, opitimizes this. But JDM's look makes him appear more like the "grizzled dad".



Not a yuppie. But certainly someone who really is going through a divorce. His wife Stephanie, is played by Kyra Sedgwick. A pretty talented veteran actress, but her talents are sort of wasted in this film. She's boxed into an angry ex-wife role. Not super-angry, but snippy at times. So we don't see her "make or break" any scenes here. Unfortunately. Most of the film is carried by Dean Morgan, and the Dibbuk monster.
So these people have no freaking idea what to do, when the Dibbuk sets its sights on Em (Natasha Calis), and slowly begins to overtake her soul. And that's why this movie shoots itself in the foot. You see, part of what makes films like this scary and suspenseful. Is identifying the situation. And dealing with it. But Clyde as a character, is written as oblivious and not very bright. For example, when the Dibbuk begins its "merging" with Em for the first time, the next morning, Em is eating like she's eating for two. Of course, that signals that she now has another lifeform residing inside her.


When Clyde tries to get her to slow down, she stabs him through the hand with a fork. Now I'm no child psychologist, but children suddenly shanking their parents through the hand with an eating utensil, doesn't signal "post divorce stress" to me. Yet Clyde just writes it off as such. And as Em's behavior gets worse, and her complexion and facial features begin to resemble that of a little dead girl...Clyde still refuses to acknowledge that something is really wrong. So hence this plays into the stereotype I mentioned above. The parents in these situations are always oblivious. And the audience knows this situation will play out exactly that way. Hence, your script ultimately ends up being boring.



No excitement, energy, bounce, or intensity. Just predictable and expected. At least in "The Unborn", there was a blend of entertainment value and jump scares with a dark story. But both movies also have another thing in common as "Dibbuk" films. BUGS! In "The Unborn"...it was that creepy potato bug. In "The Possession"? It's large moth's. So who wins? Well, just like I thought "The Unborn" was a better 'Dibbuk' horror than "The Possession". I also found the potato bug to be far creepier and shocking than a CGI moth which is quite hard to see with this movies poor lighting.

Both films, "The Unborn" and "The Possession", also share similar directing styles. Both pics are shot in dark, moody, gloomy tones. But I think that's more because "The Possession", was a Ghost House production. And when does Ghost House "not", shoot their films this way? Not to mention, "The Unborn" used their scenery's to effectively scare the audience far better. Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives a good performance, but the problem with the film was the monster itself. We don't get to see it in any way, shape, or form. And once it possesses Em, she does the usual crawling on the floor, raspy/demonic voice, and scrunched up face thing...that we've seen many times before from movies like this.

So again, predictability rears its ugly head. Then there's the lack of a body count. In this movie, one person dies! That's it! One person! You have a demon trapped inside a box, that displays this awesome power at the start of the movie. Yet when poised to possess a little girl, and walk the earth as a human. It seems to not really be that intent on completing its goal. In fact, it isn't really up until Clyde finds out what's going on, that the Dibbuk kinda goes into ass-kicking mode. Which in this films case, is a possessed-Em...kicking, screaming, and staring at you evily, a lot. That's just not scary in a 2012 horror genre. And on the subject of the racial stereotypes the film displays.

As usual, our suburban white dad, seeks out the guidance of an ethnic group to solve a problem that he himself could've solved earlier on if he had just ya know..."had a brain". And paid attention. Instead, Clyde ends up seeking out the assistance of a hasidic Jewish community. Once he realizes what has now taken over his dear daughter. But this results in one of the films funnier scenes. When as Clyde explains to the hasid's the symptoms his daughter is displaying. The looks on their faces go from..."perhaps we can help", to..."aw hell no, you're f'ked". This however sets up an intriguing finale where Clyde does find some help, but it might already be too late.



The finale is intriguing because you hope something at least, remotely entertaining is gonna occur. Instead, you only get half of that. The ending has some good visual fx, and some shocking moments here and there. But overall, it's the typical ending you'd expect from a film like this. Filled with cliches, expected twists, and "almost scary" moments. I was however impressed with one thing at the very conclude of this movie. The spine of the writers and filmmakers. Who set up a surprise ending that suggests we might see a sequel! I don't know what they were thinking. This movie is so boring, that seeing it once, and for the first time is enough. So why would I pay to see a follow-up?

Unless it's gonna be chocked full of make-ups for the oppressive boredom that part one induced upon me. In the end, "The Possession" isn't a "bad movie". It doesn't wanna make you stick pins in your eyes. Or at least that's not how I felt. It is however, a very boring, predictable, and "by the numbers" scary movie. That is built, and tailor-made for the soccer mom crowd. Not the "genre enthusiasts".

THE GOOD:Using the Dibbuk for the films supernatural villain was a good "idea". The overall execution within the confines of the story? That's a whole nother issue. The final scene of the movie came as a surprise to me. I must admit, I didn't see it coming. But I also didn't think the filmmakers were crazy enough to see up a sequel either.

THE BAD:Calis as "possessed Em" was not scary enough. Not the actresses fault. The script just had her do a lot of weird and pedestrian stuff. I've seen far scarier horror movie kids. The Dibbuk should've been seen in full more often. We see it in full view 1 time in the movie. I won't spoil when that happens, but the creature fx were good, and wasting them on one scene kind of sucked. Also Clyde as a father should know his daughter is under supernatural attack far before the intended possession is complete. I mean come on dad, get a clue. The Dibbuk could've transported Em to Mars, and I doubt Clyde would've caught on early enough to stop the space rocket launch. And lastly, the low body count in a film like this was totally unacceptable.

OVERALL:One and a half stars out of four.





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