At first, Clyde attributed his daughter Em’s eccentric behavior to his recent divorce with her mother. He knew that the separation would take a toll on Em and her sister Hannah, especially since he was in the process of moving into a new home. However, when her mood swings turned violent, and her only companion was the eerie box she acquired at a yard sale, he started to question her well being. Through research and visits to a temple, Clyde found that Em unknowingly unleashed an evil spirit that was locked within the box. Now, he and his ex Stephanie must overcome their differences and work together to draw out the demon within their daughter, before it devours her soul.
Jeffery Dean Morgan is arguably one of the most underrated actors currently working in Hollywood, and usually the best part of any movie that he’s in. The same can be said for this picture. Watching Morgan break down in distress over the loss of his daughter’s health added to the film’s dignity, but it wasn’t enough to save it.
The main problem with The Possession is that it’s just not scary enough. Avid fans of the genre will notice the structure, and see many of the scares coming. There are some genuinely nightmarish moments, but jaded horror nuts won’t lose any sleep over the fright that the film offered. I appreciate that the movie tried to take a different route in the exorcism scheme by trading in the usual Christianity for Judaism. It was a great way to differentiate itself from the many other movies that share the same topic. Perhaps choosing a young boy to play the victim instead of the usual female would have added to the feature’s solidarity. However, the film simply wasn’t terrifying enough to keep a fan of the macabre entertained.
The Exorcist is undoubtedly the most influential exorcism film. While movies with similar premises should try to take their own cinematic path, they should also keep some lessons from the legend in mind. For instance, the 1973 classic selected a phenomenal cast, including Max von Sydow and Jason Miller. William Friedkin knew how important the part of the priests would be in the overall success of his movie, and he chose wisely. In The Possession, Matisyahu was chosen to play the priest. Unless your singer-turned-actor happens to be Mos Def, maybe you should skip out on the current popular icon. Matisyahu was a decent actor, but a veteran thespian might be a more fitting selection for such a powerful role in the story.
Normally, Ole Bornedal directs his own writing, but this time, he had to envision someone else’s film. Perhaps the missing scares can be attributed to a discourse in the relationship between the director and the writers, Juliet Snowden and Stiles White. Together, the team created an enjoyable thriller, when the crowd was hoping for a horror flick.