Exorcism horror films are really beginning to get old, and for good reason. You can only tell the same story so many times with different variations involved before several people in the audience simply begin yawning. Sure, you can easily try to incite interest by throwing in a "Based on a True Story" or two, but even that has long overreached its unbelievable factor. Yes, "The Possession" is technically based off of a true story, but very loosely based. Before we jump into the true story, lets first examine how the movie is portrayed.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a recently divorced man named Clyde who is trying to rekindle his relationship with his two daughters Hannah (Madison Davenport) and Em (Natasha Calis). Trying to be the cool dad, he takes Em to a garage sale where she comes across a box that she deems incredible. Low and behold, inside of this box holds a demon that takes control of their lives, especially Em, until she is ultimately possessed by this demon. So we have a possessed little girl and a concerned parent, all that’s needed now is a priest to help exorcise the demon. The movie does in fact cater to this stereotype, making the movie even more predictable and tasteless than it already was.
Well hold on, it's exciting because it is a true story right? Wrong, clearly there is too many amazing things happening in order for it to be true. Instead it was warped heavily from its source material. The true story that this film is based off of the haunted box itself, the Dybbuk box and its legend, everything else was added. Once upon a time, a kid sold a haunted Jewish cabinet box on Ebay claiming it contained a demon. It was sold for about $250 and those that got a hold of it afterwards came into contact with things they simply couldn't explain. However, nothing was flying around the room, there was no classic arching of the backs with eyes rolled back, and there were certainly no hands protruding from the buyer's mouth.
It is absurd at how much the movie changed in order to incite at least some kind of fear out of an audience. To be perfectly audience, the movie isn't scary at all because it plainly tries too hard. The "true story" is actually a pretty interesting one and can be creepy under the right circumstances. If it wasn't messed with so much, they could have made a much better movie. That being said, it wasn't the worst movie in the world, it did have some positive things going for it.
First of all, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a fantastic actor, and this role was perfect from his experience as the father on "Supernatural" (a role that had him exorcising demons). He really did carry the movie and balanced it out, keeping it from being absolutely horrible, but that didn't save it from being forgettable. Kyra Sedgwick is also a very talented actress, but her role was pretty useless in this film, and there was simply no chemistry between her character and Clyde. The kids were okay, and no matter how hard they tried, Em was just a copycat of the girl in "The Exorcist".
They also had some pretty decent visuals in the film. The CGI work was done very well, giving off some weird and creepy moments with Em. The cinematography was also somewhat impressive, as it did actually have some interesting and cool shots. The music was interesting at first, but then it just came off as repetitive and annoying, another example of the movie trying way too hard.
You can try your darndest to find the positives in this film, but try as you may, they just don't take over the negatives. In a scale of good to bad, the bad outweighs the good here. They had a decent idea, but the writing was lazy and honestly terrible. There was so much more they could have done to make this movie more authentic or realistic, but it would appear that they just caved with the safety net of what has worked in the past. We need unique films that aren't afraid to test the deep end once in a while.
This movie is for fans of horror films that simply don't care how good or bad the movie is, because horror is as horror does. "The Possession" comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jan. 15!