It seems like every horror movie these days is "based on a true story." In our cynical age, it's unlikely anyone is walking into "The Possession" thinking that everything on screen really happened. And despite a solidly chill-inducing first hour, its absurd and goofy final act will ensure it.
"Watchmen"'s Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as Clyde, a successful small-town college basketball coach. Unfortunately, his family life is less of a slam-dunk. He's been divorced from his wife ("The Closer"'s Kyra Sedgwick) for a year, putting a strain on his relationship with his two little girls.
During a rare happy weekend with his daughters, however, the youngest, Emily (Natasha Calis), finds a mysterious wooden box at a yard sale. The girl starts behaving unnervingly different, becoming distant and attacking anyone who attempts to come between her and her treasured box.
As her symptoms escalate and the body count begins to rise, Clyde discovers the box may be the home of a dibbuk, a vengeful spirit hoping to enter the land of the living again. The only hope for his daughter may be an exorcism, performed by a young Jewish priest played by popular Jewish musician Matisyahu (pre-shaved beard and hair).
The first two acts of "The Possession" aren't without faults. Much of the character development revels in clichés – is there any doubt work-obsessed Clyde won't make his oldest daughter's much-anticipated dance performance? – and Danish director Ole Bornedal has a peculiar habit of quick cutting to black in the middle of a scary scene, a technique that subtracts more than it adds.
What Bornedal does exceptionally well, with the help of his screenwriters Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, is escalate the chill-inducing tension. Moths start infesting the house (far more unnerving than "The Apparition"'s mold and knotted clothes), and Emily's behavior grows more unpredictable as the possession gets stronger. She stabs her dad in the hand but is immediately apologetic afterwards …Read more...