The shelves get restocked on a weekly basis in the land of DVD & Blu-Ray with the latest and greatest offerings available for rent or purchase for those that want them. Out today is a supernatural thriller with a half decent pedigree behind it that will hopefully find an audience on home video. It's time to get sucked in by "The Possession".
Directed by Ole Bornedal
Based on a true story, “The Possession” is the story of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. Clyde and Stephanie Brenek (Dean Morgan and Sedgwick) are divorced but are making it work and ultimately see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em (Callis) becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. However as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.
Director Ole Bornedal has made some previous jumps into the realm of psychological horror in the past, but with Sam Raimi serving as a producer on this project, this film hits enough of the right notes that it works well enough. Bornedal seemingly borrows a great deal of visual and musical cues from Japanese horror making for some dramatic and stark long shots that look fantastic and while the musical cues were admittedly a little corny at times they did exactly what they were designed to do as they diffused tension in this exceedingly spooky and slow burning possession story. Despite the occasional moment of hokey dialogue and forced plot point the script was reasonably solid and moved along at the right speed as we slowly watch this demon take over and inhabit this child. In most cases in films like this the actors are occasionally just props for the story, but we got some solid turns from both Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Natasha Calis.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan always plays fairly likeable characters even if they are scoundrels, but as he flashes his charming every man smile he is quite believable as the awkward single dad and former athlete coaching at the smaller levels looking to get back to the top but when faced with this demon all he wants is to protect his daughter and he’s believable in his desperation as he goes to great lengths to do that. Young Natasha Calis as Em was quite good starting off as the introverted shy child of divorce then evolving into the embodiment of evil. It won’t be quite as iconic as Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” but her performance is at least in the same ball park.
Special features on the DVD Include feature length audio commentary tracks with director Ole Bornedal as well as with writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, 'The Real History of the Dibbux Box' featurette and the theatrical trailer.
When all is said and done, “The Possession” isn’t really a film that’s going to knock your socks off with some dramatic jump scares but it is a reasonably well constructed, tension filled grabber that despite an ending that was a little too ‘Hollywood’ is more than worth a look when you get a chance.
3 out of 5 stars.
"The Possession" is now available for rent on DVD & Blu-Ray at video stores all across the country as well as all major on demand providers. You can also find it for purchase at all major retailers like iTunes, HMV or amazon.ca.