Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Possession

Year:  2012
Director:  Ole Bornedal
Screenplay:  Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, based on the Los Angeles Times article "Jinx in a Box" by Leslie Gornstein
Starring:  Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport
Running Time:  91 minutes
Genre:  Horror, supernatural

This film is based on the allegedly true story of the so-called "Dybbuk box" which is an old wine-chest which is said to be haunted.  Basketball coach Clyde Brenek (Morgan) and jewellery designer Stephanie Brenek (Sedgwick) are in the process of getting divorced.  The couple have two young children, Em (Calis) and Hannah (Davenport).  During a weekend with their father, Em asks him to buy her a strangely carved wooden box.  That night she manages to open the box, with difficulty and finds that it is full of strange old objects.  Before long Em starts hearing voices and manifesting disturbing changes in personality and violent behaviour, as well as bizarre supernatural phenomenon.  Clyde soon becomes convinced that there is a force in the box that is trying to take control of his daughter.

This is a decent slice of supernatural possession horror.  There isn't much here that will surprise fans of the genre, and the film is very obviously influenced by The Exorcist (1973) but there are a few good jolts and the film creates a creepy, downbeat atmosphere, anchoring the supernatural events among the all too real horrors of divorce.  It also manages to be fairly subtle for the most part which makes it all the more effective.  The performances are good throughout, particularly from Natasha Calis as the tormented Em.  While, as I said, there is nothing particularly new here there is still enough to make it worth watching, just don't expect anything spectacularly amazing.

What's in the box?  Natasha Calis in The Possession      

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