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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???