The Possession


Director:Ole Bornedal

Cast:Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis

Running Time:92.00


Why does Hollywood keep trying to re-do The Exorcist? The obvious answer is money, since the original made a killing at the box office, was a surprise Oscar nominee, and rightly earned its place as one of the greatest horror films of all time. So why even bother with a project destined to fail?

I'm not sure what possessed (pun intended) anyone here to get involved with this rip-off, which even tries to replicate the MRI scene. The Possession doesn't have any intelligence, logic, or scares. It also comes up short on style and relies on countless tropes we've seen before in the dozens of bad horror films that have come before it.

The film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who seems to give up on this nonsense towards the end of the movie. He's a basketball coach whose skills are apparently so legendary he's been handpicked to coach the North Carolina Tar Heels. The old coach must be senile because there's no evidence he could be leading a team to victory in the two scenes that take place on the court.

He's recently divorced from Kyra Sedgwick (who brings such little vitality to the role she could have literally been played by any other actress over 30). In a sign of the script's laziness, there's still a possibility these two could get back together despite the presence of her new boyfriend, who's, of course, kind of a jerk.

They're the parents of two daughters, one bitchy (Madison Davenport) and one quiet (Natasha Calis). The latter finds an old wooden box at a yard sale and grows increasingly attached to it. Unfortunately, it's a dibbuk box, something Jewish villagers would create to capture demonic spirits. Of course it gets opened, slowly taking over the quiet one.

So the movie begins its cycle of stupidity: something freaky happens and the next day a character will comment how weird that was. Then something else weird happens and the next day one character will say to another, "There's something going on here," only to be reassured everything's fine.

The Possession follows these beats carefully; it becomes a pointless exercise. The lack of innovation extends to the sets. Apparently no home or business in this town can afford more than three light bulbs, so everything is constantly dark, the easier to stage yawn-worthy scenes designed to make you jump. But the special effects are often gross, not frightening. And the editing is so frenetic you won't be able to tell what's going on anyway.

Eventually, the psychotic outbursts lead Morgan to seek out a rabbi to perform an exorcism. This is after he's tried to do that himself, which has to go down as one of the dumbest things a horror movie character has ever done. Unfortunately, the rabbi is played by formerly Hasidic rapper Matisyahu. This is extremely distracting and ruins any remaining hope the movie could draw us in.

One of the worst things a movie can be is a waste of time, and that's exactly what The Possession is, especially if you've seen The Exorcist. So just re-watch that and forget about all the imitators.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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