Movie Review: The Possession

Matisyahu, Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick in 'The Possession
Matisyahu, Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick in 'The Possession' - Photo © Lionsgate Films

Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty

“I do not talk to the box. I talk to my friend, she lives in the box,” says Em (Natasha Calis) to her father, Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who’s noticed a drastic change in his daughter’s behavior ever since she opened an antique box they bought at a yard sale in the horror film The Possession.
It’s been a hard year for the Brenek family, what with Em’s mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) moving forward with the divorce from Clyde and spending practically all her free time with her new boyfriend. This hits Em especially hard since she was deeply hoping her parents would get back together. So when she likes an antique box at a yard sale, Clyde buys it for her, hoping to cheer her up. Inspecting the box later at his home, Clyde notices that it’s been sealed – whoever created it didn’t want it opened. Later that night, Em finds a way to open the box and discovers little personal trinkets and possessions but nothing of any real monetary value.
It’s not long after opening the box that Em’s personality begins to change. She becomes more and more obsessed with the box, not wanting anyone to touch it, and talking to it…or, as she tells Clyde, to her friend who lives in the box. She becomes withdrawn from her big sister, Hannah (Madison Davenport), whom she’s always been very close to and acts out with violence towards classmates and even her own father, stabbing his hand with a fork one morning at breakfast.
There are also a few strange incidents in Em’s bedroom at Clyde’s home, including one night when her room is infested with flying giant moths while Em just sits on her bed staring at the box.
Realizing this isn’t just his daughter acting out over the separation/pending divorce and noticing some writing on the antique box, Clyde decides to take the box to a professor at the school where he’s employed as a basketball coach to see if he can make out what’s written on the box. When Professor McMannis (Jay Brazeau) tells Clyde that the writing is in Hebrew and says the box was built to keep trapped a demon, Clyde becomes convinced that Em is possessed by the entity she unknowingly freed. This sends a horrified Clyde to the Jewish religious community looking for a holy man to help him drive the evil spirit out of his daughter and back into the box from where it came.
The Bottom Line:
Based on a true story, The Possession is a painfully slow film with no scares whatsoever. This is a ridiculous, unoriginal movie with silly dialogue, unimpressive special effects, and an unimpressive script.
Kyra Sedgwick delivers one of the worst performances of her career as Em’s mom, Stephanie. She overacts in the second half of the film when her character realizes her daughter is either going insane or is possessed by an evil entity. It’s a laughably bad performance. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does an adequate job as Clyde, the forgetful, loving father who becomes determined to save his little girl no matter what the cost to himself or his soul. The best performance in the film is by Madison Davenport as the older sister Hannah who goes from being supportive and trying to look out for her little sister when she seems depressed and not herself, to scared to death and terrified for Em and her fight with the demon. It’s the only good thing about the film.
The writing in The Possession is deplorable, with dumb and unbelievable dialogue and characters who behave ludicrously. A perfect example of this is when Clyde and Stephanie, both fully convinced Em is possessed by a demon who is known as the taker of children, without a thought or concern have their other older daughter, Hannah, help during the Exorcism! HELLLLLOOOOOOOO….maybe she should spend the night at a friend’s and away from the DEMON WHO TARGETS CHILDREN!
Boring, absurd, and not in the least bit scary, The Possession is a fright-less flick which should have all moviegoers exercising their rights to skip this exorcism film.
The Possession hits theaters on August 31, 2012 and is rated PG-13 mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences.