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The Possession Review
By Darrin Jones / August 31

Ingredients: If you liked The Exorcist, The Rite, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and, oh, what the heck, any other exorcism movies out there, then you will probably like this one.

Now I had originally planned on reviewing 7500 but at the last moment the release date was pushed back. Hurray, now I look forward to it next year. But since my review schedule was freed up and I still had to get my spooky movie fix, The Possession was conveniently playing right next door. So grab your 'Star of David' and copy of the 'Old Testament' because this time there’s a Hebrew twist. Clyde (as played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a recently divorced father that’s still trying to keep in touch with his daughters. When his youngest daughter, Em (Natasha Calis), picks up a strange box at a yard sale the family finds out all to late that it contained an evil spirit called a Dybbuk. Em begins acting out and losing her identity to the supernatural intruder. Clyde has to uncover the secrets of the insidious box and put the spirit back before it’s to late.

Yes, The Possession is another exorcism movie. I couldn’t believe it either; with a name like "The Possession," it could’ve been about anything! So in terms of the exorcism movies, it’s not really adding anything other then having the final exorcism being preformed in Yiddish. But it’s actually one of the better exorcist movies I’ve seen. The movie manages to avoid some of the pitfalls that usually trip-up most modern horror flicks. Sure it has the overused “broken home” gimmick as a quick way to hook in the audience but it at least approaches it realistically. The daughters are upset and frustrated but not overly bratty and obnoxious. Kyra Sedgwick plays Stephanie, Clyde’s ex-wife, which means she’s obviously the last to believe that something supernatural is going on and blames Clyde for everything but she isn’t portrayed as overly bitchy or unlikable. In fact, there’s a few scenes that show that the characters still have some feelings for each other even if they know that ship has sailed.

The two that really sell the film, though, have to be Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Natasha Calis. The hardest thing about making a film involving spirit possession is portraying someone that is being possessed. But Natasha pulls it off. She starts off confused and distant but gradually becomes more and more frightening. Likewise, Morgan does a terrific job playing a caring father in a desperate situation. Most of the film focuses on the relationship between the two and it’s pretty damn convincing.

One of the movie’s higher points has to be how well it builds suspense and mystery. It doesn’t rely heavily on cheap special effects or jump-scares. Instead, it lets the slow pace and big pay-offs dictate the mood. Though the moments when it does cut loose and starts raking up a body count are pretty intense.

Even though The Possession elects to deal with evil spirits from a Jewish origin instead of the usual demons and devils that popup in most other exorcism films, they could’ve taken it further. The film kind of skims over Dybbuk mythos when it had the perfect opportunity to really explore it. The upside is that hopefully The Possession has opened the door for more films dealing with a wider range of historical, cultural, and religious legends that haven’t gotten any attention. Perhaps an Australian centered monster-flick is just on the horizon. After all, Britain and New Zealand did give us Black Sheep and Shawn of the Dead. In all, The Possession is alright but nothing special. See it if you’re a fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, or Kyra Sedgwich. As for me, I’m going to be watching something truly frightening: Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventures. Pray for me folks. Pray for me.

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