“The Possession of Michael King,” which releases to limited theaters on Aug. 22, is yet another found footage film that revolves around some kind of demonic possession. How many of these will we get before people realize that enough is enough?
Michael King (Shane Johnson) is a documentary filmmaker who, a few years ago, lost his wife in a tragic accident. One day, he comes up with the idea of making a documentary that tries to prove there is no such thing as the supernatural, and religion is one big lie. And this is coming from some guy who claims he doesn’t believe in God nor the devil.
As he continues to work on his documentary, Michael begins to feel something bizarre. He soon realizes that a demon has taken over his body, and it won't let him go.
Johnson gives a good performance in a film that kind of pulls out all of the usual tricks when it comes to found footage and possession movies. Everything turns out rather predictable, unfortunately, and the people from whom he seeks help are in the film for a brief period of time before being shooed away. It’s a shame, because there are some notable actors and actresses such as Dale Dickey (“Winter’s Bone”) and Tomas Arana (“Gladiator”) who are terribly underused.
“The Possession of Michael King” may have been a more effective film if it ditched the found footage gimmick. That’s basically what it has become since “The Blair Witch Project” jumpstarted the technique back in 1999, and since then, it’s only been effective a few other times. This is not one of those times.
First-time director David Jung has good intentions, and he shows that he knows how to use camera angles. But the found footage method makes the whole thing seem like a waste. There are times where you want to tell him to put down the camera, like you do with a lot of other characters in found footage films, and there are times where you are curious as to how he’s still able to hold onto the camera.
And there was no need for Jung to end the film the way he does. Without ruining it for those who plan on seeing the film, it’s one of those instances where the audience can guess what happened early on, when the topic is originally mentioned, and then the director decides to show what happened. Jung makes it seem like the audience may not be smart enough to figure it out, even after the constant discussion on the topic.