- Scare Factor
Writers: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White Actors: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Madison Davenport, Kyra Sedgwick, Grant Show, Matisyahu Music: Anton Sanko
Going into the theater, I was expecting nothing much more than cheap thrills. Another child-possession movie? Because, really, that totally hasn’t been done before. Happily, amongst all the cliche horror elements, there were sparks of originality. There was quite a mixture of good and bad in The Possession. Here’s the rundown:
It starts with a box. A mysterious box with odd writing on it, and Emily (Natasha Calis), the young daughter of a divorced couple, is instantly drawn to it at a yard sale. Her father Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), guilty about the divorce, is happy to do anything to please his daughters and buys Emily the box. Emily’s obsession with the box grows, though Clyde, his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick), and her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) mark it down as stress from the divorce.
Soon, however, her behavior moves from odd to violent, then straight to creepy as hell. Clyde does some research and finds a Hasidic Jew (Matisyahu) who tells him the box’s terrible secret.
Kudos to 13-year-old star and possessed demon-girl Natasha Calis for portraying a wide range of emotions — unusual in a horror movie. Whether it’s a carefree moment with her father, an unsettling tear-drenched display of confusion, demonic confidence or outright terror, Calis has it covered. It was nice to see some depth instead of just constant fear, which is what you get with most horror flicks.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan also deserves a thumbs up for his portrayal of Em’s father. He definitely gives off the right vibe of a good guy caught up in a bad mess. He’s dealing with an ex-wife who’s moving on, a surly oldest daughter who he can’t communicate with, and now the mystery of his other daughter’s yard sale find. His desperation, frustration, and love for his kids is palpable.
Fifteen-year-old Madison Davenport’s character — an eye-rolling teenage daughter — was a little contrived, but she did the best with what she was given.
I hate it when horror movies are a non-stop scare fest from beginning to end. Give us some breathing room! Equally annoying is when the first three quarters of the show are subtle clues of things that almost happen but don’t quite follow through, and then the last few minutes are a concentrated dose of horror followed by a hasty explanation. Luckily, The Possession avoids both of these pit-falls. Pretty much every scene tells a little something new without totally overwhelming the audience.
Vomiting of unmentionable things, unnatural contortions, seizures, eyes rolling in the back of your head — it’s all creepy but certainly not new. Once you’ve seen one possession you’ve seen them all. The typical family set-up — distant daughters, lingering feelings between the divorcees — was also something I’ve seen a million times before.
The Scare Factor
Not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what sort of movie you’re going for, but this one wasn’t too terribly scary. In fact, some of the demonic writhing-about leaned more towards the comedic than the horrific. Most of the scenes were more intriguing than scary, and a good deal of the story’s focus was following the everyday drama of the character’s lives (a potential upcoming move to a new state, the ex-wife’s new boyfriend, etc.) rather than the whole demon thing. Which certainly isn’t a bad angle for a movie to take, but if you’re wanting just a straight horror film, you might get bogged down by the non-horror elements.
Overall Score: 3.5 Stars out of Five
If you want to see a movie that has a decent action curve, good acting, and isn’t just a mash-up of every other horror movie out there – you might want to check this one out. You do have to suffer through a few cliches, but overall it’s fairly original. However, if you want an edge-of-your-seat, holding-your-breath non-stop thrill fest, you might want to sit this one out.
‘The Possession’ Trailer: