ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Possession (2012)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Ole Bornedal

Starring:
Jeffrey Dean Morgan/Clyde
Natasha Calis/Em
Kyra Sedgwick/Stephanie
Jay Brazeau/Professor McMannis
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A young girl (Natasha Calis) buys an antique wooden box with odd carvings on it (known as the Dibbuk) at a yard sale. When she opens it, a demon without a home is let loose and begins to take her over. It’s up to her father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to save his little girl’s soul.
THE LOWDOWN

THE POSSESSION started off with a based on a true story claim. Upon some research once back from the theatre, I looked into its folklore and I found this old EBAY posting selling a Dibbuk, kind of creepy. Felt like sharing! NOTE TO SELF: Send Dibbuk boxes to two of my ex girlfriends for X-Mas. END OF NOTE. As for the movie itself, I have to admit that I was taken aback as to how much I got out of it. Derivative (what isn’t these days, it’s all been done) of William Friedkin’s definitive possession movie THE EXORCIST, mixed in with a dash of THE OMEN; this bad girl had enough live rounds in its arsenal to groove me right!

The first thing that struck me about THE POSSESSION was its old school visual approach to its material. Director Ole Bornedal (who is no bum, see Nightwatch or The Substitute) really aced it behind the lens, gunning out a macabre mood, oppressive slow push-ins and striking areal shots that almost acted as demon POVs looking down at us, waiting for its moment to strike. Tagged with a retro editing style (no MTVish quick cuts and whip outs here), a brilliant use of silence and wrapped in a spooky bass heavy piano bass score by Anton Sanko (that winked at the JAWS music here and again), this one really hit home when it came to its aesthetics. It was refreshing for me to see a modern horror film tackled in such a classical manner. Another one of the film’s key strengths was its stellar cast. Jeffrey Dean Morgan gave a heart wrenching show and when the flick would falter in credibility, Morgan would often sell me on the happenings none the less via his strong display. Natasha Calis as the possessed little girl blew me away as well! She was convincing as your average, good hearted child, and pretty freaking intimidating when it was demon-tot time! This should be a break out role for her! And she deserves a SCREAM Award or something…

Both leads were well backed by Kyra Sedgwick as the conflicted ex-wife, the very natural Madison Davenport as the slightly older sister and the scene stealing Matisyahu as Tzadok. NOTE: It was kinda cool to see Grant Show in the house. I knew him from the first season of Melrose Place (yes I watched it, don’t tell anybody). Dude brought it as the neat-freak goodie-goodie! Good job man! Result? The Grade A cast made sure that the picture not only worked as a chilling sit down but as a poignant drama too. I bought into the family dynamics, the dire situation they were in and how everybody coped with it. So by believing in the characters and their predicament, once the demon was out of the box, the supernatural jolts uppercut me even harder. Add to that some distinctive fear ploys that often took me by surprise, strong visuals effects (yes there was some CGI and CG enhancements, but they were well done) and a handful of tension laced moments that had me on the edge of my seat; and you get a pleasant surprise, well for me anyway, cause I expected it to blow!

On the flipside, it was obvious that the film was cut down from a R to a PG 13 by the Studios; as some of the more sinister bits were abruptly cut short which resulted in some scenes not having enough room to breathe and fully punch in. I also caught one moment that pushed my suspension of disbelief button (the wife, going with “it” to easily in the hospital) and finally, the last act was a bit unintentionally funny and contrived, I say a bit, cause I managed to still believe and get back-handed by it anyways. All in all, I am glad that I saw this one on the big screen, even in its PG-13 format. I will definitely buy the uncut Blu-Ray when it comes out and will seek out that spooky score ASAP. It should make for solid music to write my next script to. So you gonna get possessed by this one or what???

GORE
There wasn’t any true gore here, but we were treated to all kinds of f*cked up demon revelation moments that I won’t reveal here in order not to spoil.
T & A
Nada!
BOTTOM LINE
If go by the early reviews out there, I am in the minority here, but hey, all good. I got some sturdy kicks out of THE POSSESSION. Its retro approach to its visuals, its stellar score, powerful sound design and its top notch cast (Jeffrey Dean Morgan owned it and Natasha Calis was a revelation) had me firmly in its claws. Moreover, I was emotionally invested in the characters, the drama on hand stirred me and the slew of supernatural shenanigans undeniably gave me the willies. This one had me sitting up a couple of times in anticipation, and that’s always a great feeling to get during a horror film. I would say it’s more creepy than scary though. I could’ve had gone without those scenes being cut short too abruptly, had one moment where I had to suspend disbelief and the finale was on and off in terms of tone (scary then kind of funny, rinse and repeat) but on the whole I had a blast with THE POSSESSION and am looking forward in seeing /owning the uncut Blu-Ray.
BULL'S EYE
The flick was produced by Sam Raimi's production company Ghosthouse Pictures and was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Dibbuk is also spelled Dybbuk. Here's the definition: In Jewish folklore, a dybbuk (Yiddish from Hebrew) is a malicious or malevolent possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person.

Matisyahu is also a Hasidic Reggae singer
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1:35PM on 08/30/2012
Sorry copy and paste link and it should work.
Sorry copy and paste link and it should work.
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1:33PM on 08/30/2012
The LA Times story that the movie is loosely based on:

[link]
The LA Times story that the movie is loosely based on:

[link]
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