Horror movies about demonic possessions are a dime a dozen, especially after the overnight success of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise. “The Possession” is the latest installment in the long stale exorcism genre and contributes nothing new.
The film starts with the same formula as any other horror movie: a family, broken
up by a recent divorce, is struggling to stay united. The deadbeat dad, played by Jeffrey Dean
Morgan, attempts to redeem himself in the eyes of his two teenage daughters by moving into a new house and trying to spend more time with them after years of absentee parenting.
While spending time with his daughter Em, played by Natasha Calis, at a garage sale, he agrees to buy her a large wooden box with Latin writing all around it. The audience already knows the box is haunted after the opening credits reveal that a woman attempted to destroy the box, only to be beaten up and murdered by some unknown force in her living room. This same box winds up at the garage sale, so as any horror cliche would have it, the young daughter is drawn to it. Pretty soon, the girl becomes bizarrely transfixed by the box and the terror contained inside of it.
As the next 90 minutes of the movie drag on, it becomes blatantly obvious that the
writers and directors of “The Possession” are following a horror movie checklist. The once
outgoing girl becomes listless and lethargic? Check. The final showdown happens in a creepy
hospital basement? Check. The finale is a heartwarming portrayal of a happy family where the parents realize they never fell out of love? Check and check. The only wild card is having an Amish priest who inexplicably listens to an iPod when we first meet him. Other than that, “The Possession” is just a combination of every horror movie element thrown together into a sloppy final result. Nearing the end of the movie, the audience doesn’t even care what happens to the family or the demon box. You just want the movie to end so you can leave the theater.
“The Possession” breaks no new ground. It’s the same exorcism film that has been
released every couple of years trying to give an audience a cheap scare but it mostly just
causes boredom. For a better executed possession film that actually scares rather than bores, see “Paranormal Activity”.
I give “The Possession” a D for lack of originality and a poor storyline.
“The Possession” is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences.