Directed by Ole Bornedal
Written by Juliet Snowden & Stiles White
Starring: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, and Madison Davenport
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.
Name one person that genuinely gained favor by messing around with some kind of mysterious box or artifact within the confines of a horror movie. If this really is based on a true story, I hope that lesson wasn’t lost on the actual family. DON’T MESS WITH ANCIENT BOXES! Seriously, as a general rule – never buy things involving engraved Hebrew text.
I know I’m not going with the popular vote, but I enjoyed The Possession. You have such a strict parameter to work from and an infamously hard-to-please audience when you take on demonic possession. You risk unintentional parody if you lay it on too thickly. Not enough compounded evil? Well, then you’ve made a watered down pseudo-psychiatric thriller. After the woeful possession entry The Devil Inside, I was surprised anyone else wanted to tackle it in 2012. The Possession caught me off guard. This film was made with a subtle balance that helped it become more intense as it progressed. That alone is a huge compliment to this film.
Fresh off a recent divorce, Clyde and Stephanie are trying to find their emotional footing with each other as their young daughters struggle in their own ways. The emotional backdrop was in full-swing by the time Em convinces her dad to buy her the box in question. Perplexed by the artistically crafted box’s refusal to open, Em pokes and prods at it until the secret is revealed. Of course a demonic force was bound to the box and can only be freed once the box is newly opened. Kudos to the film makers for pacing Em’s full-blown descent skillfully and patiently. Young Natasha Kalis does a fantastic job of convincing us she’s a real tween undergoing a terrible emotional, spiritual, and physical ordeal. The subdued acting and effects helped this stay on course – something recent genre films have missed completely.
I loved that the demon is of Jewish origin, making it feel much more natural and inherently evil than the generic Catholic/Christian umbrella it usually falls under. The transition Em undergoes on her dark path is truly frightening. I want to see this evil force show it’s fangs in a haunting yet realistic manner. The use of whipping winds and insects made this feel a little like a cross between The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. Sure, there’s a couple cliché moments, but add a little extra pinch of Morgan’s natural charm, and it’s an acceptable loss. You’re not going to leave the theater blown away, but it should leave fans of the supernatural satisfied to a large degree. If you like horror movies enough to venture to the theater for The Possession – you’ll most likely enjoy it. Not a bad ending to meteorological summer if you ask me.