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.
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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
Was originally rated R by the MPAA for "violence, terror and disturbing images" but the film was eventually edited to receive a PG-13 rating for "mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences." See more »
SPOILER:When the demon takes control of Clyde, the mysterious box moves between shots. See more »
Has touches that had to be influenced by producer Sam Raimi.
'THE POSSESSION': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A Jewish exorcism film for a change! This one revolves around Jewish folklore of the Dybbuk Box (which began in the 1920s), a box used to contain an evil Jewish demon. A father and his two daughters buy the box at a garage sale and one of the young girls becomes possessed by the demon inside it. The film was produced by Sam Raimi (and released through his horror studio 'Ghost House Pictures') and directed by Ole Bornedal. It was written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White (who also co-wrote the Sam Raimi produced horror film 'BOOGEYMAN' and the Nicolas Cage thriller 'KNOWING') and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick. The movie plays out like a pretty routine possession movie but it does have some pretty nice scares in it and the dybbuk storyline is interesting.
The film is based on an article by LA Times reporter Leslie Gornstein, called 'Jinx in A Box', about the history of the Dybbuk Box which was brought to America by a Holocaust survivor and passed around to various people who all reported horrific experiences from it. In the film a young girl named Em (Natasha Calis) finds the box at a garage sale and asks her dad, Clyde (Morgan), to buy it for her. Clyde was recently divorced from his wife, Stephanie (Sedgwick), and has his two daughters, Em and Hannah (Madison Davenport), for the weekend. Em takes the box home and opens it and soon strange occurrences begin happening. This causes further conflict between Clyde and Stephanie as Clyde is blamed for his daughter's strange behavior. Clyde soon discovers Em's possessed and learns the history of the box. He then travels to a local Hasidic community for help and enlists the assistance of a young jew named Tzadok (Matisyahu), who is able to perform exorcisms.
Bornedal also directed (as well as wrote) the Danish thriller 'NIGHTWATCH' and it's 1997 American remake of the same name (although Steven Soderbergh rewrote that screenplay) starring Ewan McGregor. He also directed and co-wrote the 2007 Danish horror film 'THE SUBSTITUTE' (also released by Ghost House Pictures, in America). I'm not familiar with his work but I really liked his directing on this film. It has that classic campy horror feel to it, with touches that had to be influenced by Sam Raimi (as it often feels like one of his films). The movie is often funny, in seemingly unintentional ways, but it's never too over the top. The comedy never takes you out of the creepy mood of the film and although the script is routine the film is always intriguing, thanks to the excellent filmmaking. Morgan is good in the lead and Natasha Calis is also impressive in the pivotal creepy role. To many it might just seem like a bad horror film but if you're a fan of the genre you'll probably get a big kick out of it's style and the enormous fun it has with the material.
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