Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie Review: The Possession

The Possession is an excellent horror film that puts the lie to the notion that good horror can't be rated PG-13.  The nature of the supernatural antagonist was different enough to be interesting and woven deeply enough into the film to be more than a gimmick.  Don't be fooled by the silly "Based on a true story" thing.  A spoiler-free review follows:

  • John Winchester: Jeffrey Dean Morgan showed great range in this role, and was believable as both a college basketball coach and a terrified father trying to save his youngest daughter.  His frustration and confusion were palpable throughout.  Even though he'll always be Sam and Dean's dad to me, and I was hoping he'd just kick the monster's ass the way he would in Supernatural, he showed that he could believably go beyond his beloved television role.
  • Poor Kid: Natasha Calis as Em, the dybbuk's victim, did a great job.  Usually, let's face it, kids in movies tend to get shrill and annoying when dealing with perilous situations, but Calis didn't go there.  What was happening to her wasn't fair, and you wanted that filthy, horrible thing out of her.
  • The Others: Kyra Sedgwick was her usual, irritating self in this film, which was probably deliberate on the casting director's part.  She's unlikable in every role she's in, so it worked here as the ex-wife.  Matisyahu as Tzadok stole the show: he was funny without it spoiling the film's intensity, and authoritative as a Hasidic exorcist, of sorts.  The filmmakers used him just enough.  
  • Dybbuks: The notion of a dybbuk box was very neat, and it was quite interesting to see Jewish exorcists using the power of Adonai to fight a demon, rather than the standard Catholic priest vs. Lucifer contest.  There's a great deal of wealth to be mined in Jewish mysticism and folklore.
  • Nastiness: the rolling eye effects were particularly disturbing, as were the moths and other nasty, horrible things the dybbuk inflicted.  The MRI scene was bizarre, but worked.  Seeing the dybbuk out of the box...gross.  This was a filthy, disgusting monster that did appalling things, and it showed.
  • Caring Is Sharing: Unlike far too many horror movies made these days, effort was made to get you to care about what happened to the characters.  This wasn't a film about bad things happening to bad people: it was about awful things happening to decent people, so the outcome mattered.  
Go see The Possession on Netflix when you have a spare 90 minutes.  4 out of 5 stars.

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