The Possession

Directed by: Ole Bornedal

Starring:  Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis, Grant Show, Madison Davenport

I am not bothered by horror movies involving random killers like Jason, Freddy or Michael Myers.  However, insanity, demons, possession and creepy kids (i.e. The Ring) freak me the hell out.  So when I received the assignment to check out the new film The Possession, I was not thrilled to have to watch a tale about a possessed little girl, especially since it is loosely based on a real life mysterious box purchased on Ebay.  I thought I would leave the theater and see dead people. However, I shouldn’t have been worried because The Possession never quite breaks out and terrorizes its viewers.

Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a recently divorced father of two girls Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport).  Clyde still loves his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick).  However, Stephanie has moved on with Mr. Perfect Brett (Grant Show).  Clyde still tries to be involved in his daughters’ lives and picks Em and Hannah up on the weekends.

One weekend, he and his daughters are driving through the suburbs and Hannah sees a yard sale.  She asks her dad to stop at the sale so he can purchase some dishes for his new home.  At the sale, Em stumbles upon a wooden box, a Dybbuk, that has various carvings etched into it.  She begs her dad to purchase the box and he concedes.  When they arrive home, Em and Clyde are unable to open the box initially.  When Em goes to bed that night, the box calls to her and she is able to open it.  Em finds moths, a tooth and other random items inside the box. 

Not long after opening the box, Em starts feeling strange and behaving oddly.   Em becomes eerily attached to the box.   She is ravenous and consumes substantial amounts of food.   Most significantly, she begins to have violent outbursts, stabbing her father with a fork while eating pancakes, attacking a fellow student who touches her box, etc.  Clyde cannot understand what is happening to his youngest daughter.  Initially, it is believed that the divorce and family turmoil is causing Em to act out.  But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, Clyde desperately fights to save his daughter from whatever is gripping her.

The Possession is a decent film.  Morgan (who will forever be Denny from Grey’s Anatomy to me) does a good job as the divorced dad struggling to maintain a connection with his daughters.  Natasha Callis also is believable as an innocent turned possessed creepy killer.  However, there are a number of errors with the execution of this film.  As a preliminary matter, many of the films scariest/wildest scenes are in the trailer (i.e. the fingers crawling out of Em’s throat, the moths, the fork stabbing, etc.).  Thus, the movie’s trailer takes away the surprise factor for a lot of the scenes.  Additionally, for some reason, the special effects seemed a little 1980s to me.  Many of the effects are a tad cheesy (read low budget) to me.

Most significantly, however, there was nothing new or fresh in the film.  We’ve seen possessed children before.  We’ve seen people flying around the room and attempts to cast out demons through exorcisms, and we have seen it done more skillfully.  The film failed to break any new ground and frankly just was not scary.  I don’t believe I saw a single person jump or heard a single scream in my theater.  I expected much more from a film produced by Sam Raimi.  The Possession earns a .09 rating.  Sip a Berry Scary Martini with this one.