Movie Review: The Possession
When a little girl opens an ancient and mysterious box, her infatuation with it and subsequent personality change is not a parable for western culture’s obsession with materialism. Unfortunately, it is far less interesting than that.
In yet another horror film about no more than a demon spirit inhabiting a corporeal body, The Possession does little to advance a tired genre, but at least it offers a few scares. Sam Raimi produces this Ole Bornedal-directed piece, so at least you can trust in the deliverance of a horrific setting. Cloudy skies, wind-blown leaves, darkened houses, and a problematic moth infestation all serve to add a chilling aura around a very standard piece of storytelling.
Divorced parents Clyde and Stephanie take turns tending to their young daughters, Emily and Hannah, with her being the strict, health-driven parent, and he of course, the pizza-loving, money-spending spoiler. Happening upon a yard sale, Clyde purchases for his precocious Em an antique box, which unfortunately for the family, possesses a very controlling demon looking to escape his prison.
Emily starts to change, and only Clyde thinks it is due to something more than simply teenage angst and dealing with divorce. She acts weird, lashing out, talking to an imaginary friend, gorging on food, and taking refuge among the aforementioned moths.
Momentarily chilling, little happens and even less sticks. The film devolves into a tale of exorcism, and it is a tale that is so in need of revitalization. She talks in voices at times, moves erratically, and changes from cute and bubbly to homely and gothic. Of course.
Still, a few more intense scenes transpire in a loud and chaotic ending, one with Raimi’s fingers all over it, as a family tries to save their lost daughter. There is nothing novel, but at least the film tries and can deliver from time to time. The mood is always unsettling and fortunately the cast (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick are the parents, Natasha Calis plays Em) is interesting and likable, so you genuinely care what happens to everyone.
Horror lovers won’t necessarily be disappointed, but there are no take-home frights that so many yearn for. Safe and predictable, The Possession is better than last week’s other August-horror release, The Apparition, but that’s not saying much.