A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.
The basketball coach Clyde and his wife Stephanie divorced a couple of months ago and their teenage daughter Hannah and the girl Emily 'Em' live with their mother and spend the weekends with their father. One day, Clyde stops his car in a yard sale and Em buys an antique carved box and becomes obsessed with it. Em finds the hidden lock and releases an evil spirit that possesses her. Soon Clyde discovers that Em has a problem, but his annoying ex-wife and her boyfriend Brett do not pay attention to him and get a restraining order against Clyde. Clyde seeks out Professor McMannis and when he sees the box, he explains that it is a Dibbuk Box, where a fiend is trapped inside. He also explains that the box should not be open; otherwise the person will be possessed by the spirit. Now Clyde travels to a Jewish community in New York and the rabbi's son Tzadok returns with him expecting to exorcise Em to save the girl. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The book that the father brings into the house and reads at Emma's bedside is the ArtScroll/Mesorah edition of the Tenach (Jewish Bible = Old Testament), first published in 1996, and he is reading from the English translation of Psalm 91. That edition follows the Orthodox affectation of using "HaShem" (literally, 'THE Name') where most other English versions have "The Lord"; the same substitution occurs in the Hebrew prayers recited in the synagogue and exorcism scenes. See more »
The Hebrew writing on the side of box in the opening scene appears upside down in relation to the lid and apparently spells out "Dibbuk" backwards. The writing on the lid apparently is backwards Hebrew for "You shall see the punishment of evil". See more »
Let me start of by saying that The Possession is far from a horrible film. It's well put together, reasonably well acted, etc., but there's nothing to really recommend rushing out to see it.
Any true horror fan will tell you that 2012 has been slim pickings for theatrical horror films. The ones we've gotten have ranged from decent (The Woman in Black) to extremely divisive (The Cabin in the Woods). Sadly, The Possession is not going to be our saving grace this year.
I will give The Possession props for attempting to give its characters some sort of backstory and dramatic through line, especially since that's something horror filmmakers have been forgetting to put in for years. It seems they forget that it helps if we get to know the people who are about to be terrorized if they expect us to feel any sympathy for them. The family unit is quite likable thanks to some game performances, but something about it feels manufactured and unrealistic as if the writers are trying too hard.
Once the real action of the film starts and little Emily starts acting strange, the film pulls a lot of punches and never does anything interesting or original with the material. It's Exorcist-lite. It would be as if the Disney Channel tried turning The Exorcist into a TV movie for their network. It takes a lot of the dread and danger out of the last act of the film.
Also, forget about scares. No one in my audience even jumped at the film's many attempts at "boo" scares. There's a good effort to build up the dread for the first 30/45 minutes of the film, but it plateaus there and never pays off.
Like I said, The Possession is not a terrible film (nowhere near as abysmal as this year's The Devil Inside), just a dull one with nothing new to offer and no surprises to make it worth seeing. I really don't even think it's rental material. Skip it!
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