The Possession (2012)

Walk into any DVD shop (what? A DVD shop?! Fine, go online then) and you’ll see a bulging selection of possession-based horror films packing out the shelves. Ever since The Exorcist made it terrifying and popular this sub-genre of horror has seen hundreds of carbon-copy films, some original and some embarrassingly plagiaristic.

Recently I’ve spotted Exorcismus, The Devil Inside, The Devil in Me, The Last Exorcism, a film literally called Possession (with Sarah Michelle Gellar)… all available in my local Asda! So when the inventively-named The Possession appeared on the horizon I literally thought nothing of it. Less than nothing.

So what is it about? Well, when Clyde (Jeffery Dean Morgan) let’s his daughter have whatever she likes from a yard-sale (epic fathering!), she chooses a creepy Jewish box to take home. Unfortunately this particular box contains an evil spirit who wants to possess an innocent being and become blah blah blah…

The story is startlingly obvious and basically replaces your usual Catholic exorcism / possession fare with Jews. What a change!

Yep, so Em (Natasha Calis) slowly gets increasingly more mean, gradually more insane, fuller of demon and – eventually – daddy Clyde gets suspected of child abuse, forcing him to seek a Jewish exorcist to remove the demon inside his daughter. Sound familiar? Yep? And this isn’t The Possession’s greatest flaw.

The Possession fails completely in the last half hour, when it replaces creepiness with ludicrous moments and some truly awful CGI. There’s a scene in an (inexplicably) unattended morgue that literally made me bark out a derisive laugh.

Unfortunately there are a few moments in The Possession that shatter the suspension-of-disbelief significantly. Although the fingers-in-the-mouth moment is superb, you’re also given a scene in which daughter Em STABS her dad in the hand WITH A FORK at the dinner table. Yet later on everything thinks he’s the one abusing her!

Whatever the case, it is the sprawling, idiotic ending that truly ruins an otherwise competently made little possession flick.

If you adore possession films then this sits near the top as it’s decently made and well acted by the cast. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the everyman dad very well and Natasha Calis is exceptionally good as the sweet-natured daughter who suddenly goes a bit nuts. It lacks any real scares but there are some sharp images and genuinely disturbing moments available here.

Unfortunately the trailer and the poster give away most of the decent / shocking moments, so seriously avoid them, but if you’re after something a little more subtle / unique then stick to The Last Exorcism, which is far superior.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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