Whenever a film is ‘Based On A True Story’, I tend to roll my eyes just a little bit because the events that follow often end up being so fantastic–and generally unrepeatable by anything resembling a scientific method–that, if they were true, the whole way we look at the world would change (And Yeah, I have been reading a lot of Charles Stross lately.).
Remember “The Amityville Horror?” That was based on a true story too, and was supposedly so horrific, that is till other people moved in the house, and the ghosts decided to take a siesta.
And speaking of things that probably don’t exist, can someone please take a picture of Bigfoot or a UFO with a camera that has more settings that ‘Blurry’ and ‘Extra Blurry?”
I’d really appreciate it.
The bogeyman in “The Possession” is a dybbuk box, which either holds an evil spirit, or a demon (both terms are used almost interchangeably, though I understood it as a human that, upon death, becomes an evil spirit). As I wrote earlier, as long as you’re willing to forget the whole ‘Based On A True Story’ malarkey–especially since the film is way too far-fetched to come from anywhere except the mind of a screenwriter–then you’ll have a really good time because this film remembers something that films of this sort tend to forget.
Namely, it’s all about character. If you have characters that viewers care about, no matter how weird circumstances become, you’ll always root for them.
This is why casting Jeffrey Dean Morgan in anything that requires a huge suspension of belief should virtually be mandatory. This guy can seemingly exude any emotional state believably and make just about anything that follows (almost) acceptable.
The rest of the cast, particularly Natasha Callis, Madison Davenport, Kyra Sedgwick (who I noticed has a cool tattoo on her lower back) and Matisyahu, also acquit themselves ably, which is saying something because in the case of Callis and Davenport, most kid actors tend to have me actively rooting for whatever it is that’s trying to kill them.
The direction, by Ole Bornedal, is quite capable, and uses lots of overhead helicopter shots, for the purpose of, I assume, to make the viewer seem smaller, implying that there are mysteries out there beyond our knowing.
Kudos aside, “The Possession” isn’t perfect, mainly because there are a few moments that I thought were unintentionally hilarious (Bornedal gets kudos for his sparing use of CGI sparingly, though there were moments that could have used a bit of computer-enhancement), and another that seemed blatantly stolen from “Poltergeist 2: The Other Side,” except that that film did it much better.