Review: THE POSSESSION (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Review: THE POSSESSION (2012)


Have you ever thought that upon watching a certain trailer is more than enough for you, without bothering to watch the entire movie? THE POSSESSION is definitely one of them. At the first glance, this Sam Raimi-produced spookfest looks potential enough for its premise alone: An antique wooden box contains a demon known as "dibbuk". Whoever opens the box, will ultimately cursed and subsequently possesses the owner to commit unspeakable act of terror. With a premise like that, you'll expect the filmmakers here will have a wild time making a horror movie as frightening as it gets. I almost expect Sam Raimi will pull off another edge-of-your-seat shocker in the vein of his own DRAG ME TO HELL (2009), but at the hand of Ole Bornedal (1997's NIGHTWATCH), it's a shame that this movie is shockingly dull.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Clyde, a recently divorced father is struggling to make things right with his two teenage daughters, Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport), especially when he often neglected them in favor of his busy job as a high-school basketball coach. One day, when they stop at a yard sale somewhere in a housing area, Em is fascinated with the beautiful craftsmanship of an antique wooden box and persuades her father to buy it. Then it doesn't take long before Em is curious to see what's inside and eager to open it. Clyde tries to help her to open the box but unable to do so, until one day Em manages to open it somehow. Soon Em's behavior changes from bad to worse when she starts to act strange and violent. Well, as for the rest of the story, you know what will happens next especially if you're familiar with this kind of supernatural genre.

Despite a fascinating attempt to put a different spin of an otherwise typical horror movie about possession -- by carrying a Hebrew undertones, the entire movie is actually more of the same. Still it doesn't matters even if it's familiar as long as it's engaging enough to sustain viewers' interest. Unfortunately that is (almost) hardly the case. Ole Bornedal's direction is awfully pedestrian, with none of the memorable scenes worth mentioning for. Basically the entire "money shots" you've seen in the trailer are all there. And not surprisingly, supposedly potential scenes like fingers are seen crawling inside Em's throat is short-lived and terribly lackluster. Whether it's an obvious fault from its original R-rating to a trimmed-down PG-13, there's no denying that Eric L. Beason's editing is haphazard. Just imagine how frustrating it is when you see a horror scene that's going to make you shiver but ultimately fails to do so, because everything is cut off abruptly before it jumps to the next scene. Even Anton Sanko's overly dramatic score is nothing more than a typical gimmick trying to spark the otherwise lethargic moments.

Forget about the half-hearted plot by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White either. There's little surprise or any particularly fascinating about their dreadfully formulaic storyline. As for the cast, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's exceptionally wooden performance looks like as if he's half-interested appearing in this movie. Meanwhile, Kyra Sedgwick delivers a thankless role as Clyde's estranged ex-wife. For Natasha Calis, she is quite believable as an unfortunate girl possessed by a demon, especially with all the worthwhile make-up effects. As rabbi Tzadok, reggae star Matisyahu is enjoyable to watch for, especially during the movie's finale when he performs the exorcism. It's a shame that his character is short-lived, and could have been more entertaining if he's given an ample screen time.

No doubt THE POSSESSION is a huge waste of opportunity. One of the worst movies of the year.


Anonymous said...

When using Drag me to hell as an edge-of-your-seat shocker,
it becomes clear that you doesnt understand horror.
I am not saying that you are wrong in youre review and the movie surely must suffer getting Pg 13 :)

Robert Veach said...

Go try and make a movie sometime an see how you do. It is a quite complex set of limiting factors. This movie is based on a true story so give it credit for being entertaining , scary and sticking to the real story. PG-13 is a wise choice to capture a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

The film was not entertaining though, Robert.

Anonymous said...

that's not the real story though.

Anonymous said...

How you can call this movie "shockingly dull" and rate it one star while giving The Dark Knight Rises 4.5 stars is beyond me. Dark Knight Rises was enough to put me to sleep in the theater. I thought The Possession had good pacing and great acting [especially by the younger girl] for the most part. And it definitely delivered on scares. This movie was Sam Raimi through and through (which in my opinion is a great thing); just a bit less wacky than his usual stuff. All in all, as a huge fan of the genre, I thought this movie was great!

Anonymous said...

Go make your own movie and compare isnt a good arguement. People already have gone out and tried making movies and because of said movies this one is trash in comparison