Over the labor day weekend I took in the movie The Possession. I learned in doing research for Ruler of Demons that one thing old religions have in common is the supernatural. Yet, after The Exorcist Catholicism took the lead on the subject matter. Although the Possession is not on par with The Exorcist it was not a bad movie and had its fair share of frights without having to resort to buckets of blood and over the top special effects. I should also note that The Exorcist was originally rated X and received an R rating later on. The Possession is rated PG-13.
The villain in this move was a “dybbuk” an evil spirit trapped in a box based on the Jewish tradition (I do make reference to the term in Ruler of Demons). In the movie a girl finds a box at a garage sale with Hebrew writing on the side. When the girl, who I believe was ten, opens the box all heck breaks loose. I don’t want to give away too much about the movie (since it is still in theaters) but a little girl possessed by an evil spirit is a bit unsettling.
One easy way to manipulate an audience is to use an innocent child. Let’s face it everyone has a soft spot for children. Pointing out that this little girl was a vegetarian and loved animals was kind of manipulative but it worked to some degree. The main character is the husband. His two children were not developed very much in the movie. Despite the lack of character development I still cared about the family enough to cheer them on when facing the “dybbuk”.
The movie The Unborn that came out in 2009 also used a dybbuk as the antagonist. It is nice to see that Hollywood is starting to look at other evil beings to provide frights. Lately. It seems harder and harder to find original movies anymore. Although, the Possession is not completely original and steals from other movies such as The Exorcist it does provide a new take on things. The scene with the MRI and when she is looking in the mirror were both new and scary. I would say spoiler alert but the mirror scene was used in the commercial.
One common technique used in this movie, that is often over used, is the idea that one person comes to grips with the problem while those around them remain oblivious. In the Possession after the father figures out that his daughter is possessed the mother, sister and her new boyfriend refuse to acknowledge it. The idea that the child is acting out because of the parents divorce is a bit much when the child goes from a sweetheart to pure evil. Sure whose child doesn’t turn pure evil on occasion. Yet, this child looked the part.
As the summer blockbuster season turns to the darker fare of fall I will try and throw in a couple of movie reviews. I should note that ParaNorman deserves a Cocaine Zombies high five. It shows that the undead are not all about eating brains. There is good and bad in everyone. That is true even if they are dead or undead.