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Do not let the slow pace fool you.
deadly_twilight1 January 2013
So this movie was not for everyone, I personally thought this movie was great.

An exorcism movie that does not involve the devil is refreshing to see, and the experience of the movie is played out quite well in the pacing and how events unfold. The fact it features the Jewish religion over Christianity is a very nice touch, one you rarely see in a movie of this style as most people hear exorcism and assume the Catholic church. While many may complain it is too slow, and other such things let me ask you this question.

What were you expecting from a movie that was purely plot driven?

Personally the acting was also great, I could empathize with the characters and understand them. The father was just worried about his daughter, who hid her signs of the problem well until things got bad. I mean when it really showed and she was hitting the kid at school, that looked like something that night happen in school over even something small like a favorite pencil or item. There was in my opinion no weak performances in the acting, coupled with a solid and strong story makes for quite a good movie.

Lastly the execution was some of the best I had seen this far, it flowed and was not jumpy like say the bourne movies. Nothing was out of place and the movie felt creepy and eerie throughout with all of the silence that you could almost hear in many parts of it. If your looking for a truly good movie that will have you walking away satisfied this is one of them.

It is a well written, acted, and executed movie that while it may seem slow moving is well worth the watch. Think of it what you will, but I recommend this movie as one of my top ten movies of 2012.
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The cream puff version of The Exorcist
IheartCali588231 August 2012
The parallels between this film and The Exorcist are obvious even from the trailers, so I won't go too far into that. Just suffice it to say that The Possession contains none of the impact or shock value that The Exorcist has. In short, it's just not as good of a film.

However, in its own right, it's a pretty competent horror movie. The story of the central characters is kind of cliché. Husband and wife have divorced, they share custody of the children, there's a new boyfriend/girlfriend in the picture, etc. This type of set up is always convenient when dealing with a "messed up kid" film. That way whatever is wrong with the child can inevitably be blamed on the fact that the child is just not dealing well with the break up of his or her parents. And that's exactly what happens in The Possession; except there is actually something VERY wrong with the youngest daughter and it has absolutely nothing to do with her parents. Without giving away too much, the plot centers around an ancient wooden box the youngest daughter finds at a yard sale. Of course she wants it, and so she gets it. And there begins to occur some rather strange phenomena; most of them downright spooky, a couple kind of hokey.

All in all, I was pleased. This film has got good pacing, decent acting, and exceptional cinematography. There's not much I can find as a fault here. If I had to name my major complaint about this and similar movies it would be this: I'm not thrilled about the influx of PG-13 horror films. I've a suspicion this is due to a need to bring in a wider audience (younger viewers/teenagers), and make more money on ticket sales. Because of this the final product tends to be a little too watered down for my tastes. The Possession shows a lot of promise, but I can't help but wish the writers/director would have pushed the envelope a bit more; fleshed out the story. Then it would have been great. As it stands now, I'll just say it's a "good" little horror film. Nothing that will be talked about this time next year, but I consider my money well spent.

My rating: 6.5/10
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Great Horror film
Abdel Gulabkhan5 September 2012
This movie is very good for a horror film

It starts off well and you have very good characters, the father in the film is a very good actor.

Overall the directing of the movie is excellent, all the pieces fit together well and you understand the story. A lot of horror films fail in the directing as things are mismatched and no one knows what is is going on.

It is a very well told story that develops into lots of thrills and scares

It is not a gory film which is very good but it keeps you entertained all the way through

The characters are excellent and interesting, the acting is good so this keeps you gripped all the way through

Overall an enjoyable film and does the job of a good horror film
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A Familiar Subgenre Given Great Life
Michael_Elliott31 August 2012
The Possession (2012)

*** (out of 4)

Extremely well-made and well-acted horror film about a recently divorced father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who buys his youngest daughter (Natasha Calis) a seemingly innocent box at a yard sale but soon the girl's behavior starts to change. The title pretty much tells you what happens to the little girl and I'm sure many of you are out there wondering if we really needed another possession movie. The answer is yes and especially since this one here turned out so well. I think you have to give the filmmakers a lot of credit for tackling a familiar sub-genre and being able to make it work without resorting to cheap, loud noise scares that seem to be attached to all horror movies today. I thought there were a lot of reasons why this film worked but one is the fact that you care about the father and feel his pain for losing someone close to him. The personal drama is something that THE EXORCIST used so well and the filmmakers here borrow from that and make sure the viewer can care about what's going on. Another strong point are the performances with Jeffrey Dean Morgan doing a fantastic job in the role of the father. It's rare to see horror films with such strong performances but Kyra Sedgwick is also strong as the mother. Calis is terrific in her bit as the young girl who finds herself falling apart. The limited special effects are good for what they are but we also get an incredibly effective music score. I didn't care for some of the style given to the film including the fast cuts to a black screen but this was just a minor issue. Still, THE POSSESSION gives a shot of energy to a genre that has so far in 2012 delivered one bomb after another.
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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Delivers A Super Performance!
namashi_12 September 2012
Based on the allegedly haunted Dybbuk box, 'The Possession' is a fairly interesting watch, that works in parts & Jeffrey Dean Morgan Delivers A Super Performance! He's in Complete Form this time around!

'The Possession' Synopsis: 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 Possession' works in parts. The second-hour is pretty good, but the First-Hour is slow & not very engaging. The Climax stands out, its spooky & nicely done. Juliet Snowden & Stiles White's Screenplay works in parts. Ole Bornedal's Direction is a plus-point. Cinematography & Editing are good.

Performance-Wise: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is up for top honors. He's in Complete Form this time around! Kyra Sedgwick is decent. Natasha Calis delivers aptly. Madison Davenport & Matisyahu support well.

On the whole, 'The Possession' is a fairly interesting watch.
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Has touches that had to be influenced by producer Sam Raimi.
Hellmant21 September 2012
'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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It's not your average 'lets walk down the stairs backwards and puke over a priest' possession movie!
Sarah Stanton23 September 2012
I was on holiday visiting my friend in Sacramento, California, and we decided to go to the movies. Our choice was between this movie and another called 'The Apparition'. We opted for this one as creepy kids always seem to make a horror movie much more appealing. Usually, I avoid possession films. I can't even force myself to consider 'the exorcist' a horror classic. I just think possession and exorcism films are always poorly done and are slightly altered versions of each other. However, seeing the trailer of this film beforehand made me want to see this movie and again, the little girl Emily 'Natasha Calis' drew me in. I thought this film had an interesting storyline which kept me gripped throughout and superb performances by the cast, especially Natasha Calis who portrays the little girl Emily who is possessed throughout the film. Without giving away any spoilers, I felt the ending was well done and made me leave the theatre thanking the screenplay writer for a non-stereotypical ending - well done! This film is definitely worth a watch. I may even buy it on DVD when it's released. It's not your average 'lets walk down the stairs backwards and puke over a priest' possession movie. It's well acted, well written and well worth a see. It has some jumpy moments for those who aren't desensitised to the ways of a horror movie but mainly it's gripping and you want to find out what's in that box.. GO SEE IT! I hope to see the young cast in some more films in the future! Loved it!
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Could have been so much more
lmt_is_me8 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I would like to start off with the positives. There are a few: the acting was done well by all involved, the story and some of visuals. Anything Kyra Sedgwick is involved in is generally pretty good. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was good as the struggling dad after a divorce. However, I think the star of the movie was Natasha Calis. Reminded me of a young Linda Blair.

The story was very good and well explained so I understood what was coming up next. I also appreciated the integration of the Jewish faith into the movie as this is critical to the original story. The visuals is where I felt this movie could have shocked more. There were a number of good scenes (the one with the dentist) and the final scene. But the bumps and jumps could have been more integrated into the story earlier. It was one hour into the movie before anything exciting happened. The time was spent on character development which is good but I like a few more "scares".

There were too many unanswered questions at the end of the movie. This is why I rated it the way I did. This is not a bad movie at all. It did make you think and it did spark discussions on the way home from the theater.
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The whole cinema was in hysterics by the end. Made the Spice Girls movie look good.
Hayley U30 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen a lot of horror films that have been kinda OK. But this, I mean. I honestly didn't think it would be that bad. THAT bad. You would actually think that it was a comedy, by the end of the film, people were actually laughing so hard, the whole cinema was laughing together. Not even kidding.

It was just so stupid. The acting wasn't bad but everything else was stupid.

1. Pointless symbolism? Kind of? (I don't even...) The moths for example. Appeared in the movie about 5 times as if they were really important and it wasn't even explained as to why they were SO key to the plot. What was the point if it wasn't going to be explained what their purpose was. Just threw them in there for the hell of it. Maybe the director just likes moths. 2. Characters that are completely oblivious and just dumb. Don't get the hint till about 20 mins from the end. Yeah your child is just going through a phase...a phase of raw steak eating, being obsessed over some stupid old box, stabbing you, becoming the moth whisperer, looking like they're on deaths door. Yeah, just a phase. I went through that too once. 3. The ending. I stopped caring about the 'plot' at this point.Daughter possessed, dad possessed, all possessed together! Yay! Exorcise my child? Here, take my expensive as hell bmw! I don't need a car anymore. Randomly getting hit by a lorry. Woops. R.I.P Jewish exorcist man, you will be missed.

Don't waste your money if you think you're going to get horror. But if you like comedy, I strongly recommend this. I laughed so hard I cried.

1 star for the acting.
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A Great, Well Thought Out Movie
Diane A. Joseph2 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Some people who also wrote reviews mentioned that they thought that there were many plot holes, and in general this movie was not "scary." There are more than just one type of scary. While some aspects of the film are flawed (the plot was predictable, as are all possession movies are) for the most part, it was, while not a great "horror movie" a good suspense movie.

The movie opens extremely fast, but after that, slows down to an almost complete stop. However, the intensity of the film builds from there as the story progresses, and you start to feel the suspense. Now while this movie is not particularly scary, there are several aspects in it that particularly me out. For one, the transformation that the daughter goes through is horrific. You start to see her go from an innocent little girl, to something that isn't even remotely human, something that has no emotion or care.

Secondly, you see the family being torn apart as the malicious spirit delves deeper and deeper into the little girl, taking control of her, hurting her. You can see the little girl lost as the demon ravages her body like a plague, like she's looking through a window, lost to the world.

In addition to this, the story is pretty well thought out. One of the above reviewers said that, though the moths have several appearances in the film, they do not have a substantial role in the film, that they were put there just because, "The director likes moths." If they would have taken the time to pay attention to the film, they would have realized that the reason that the moths are there is because one of the people who had formerly been possessed by the spirit had put a moth in the box in order to bind the spirit. A little research and you would find that if a creature, living or dead, is put in a box like the one in the movie, then the spirit can take that form, or manipulate creatures of its like. Another example of this is the tooth. She was able to cause the mother's boyfriend's teeth to fall out purely because other teeth had been placed in the box, giving her, the demon, the ability to manipulate them.

There are also several moments in the film that are scary purely because the imagery is so detailed and believable. An example of this would be the scene where Em is getting the MRI. The lights flicker, the screens flash images, and then suddenly a face forms. A face that you can clearly see is moving, though the pictures had already been taken. Really creepy. Not scary, but creepy.

The ending was slightly unexpected, maybe a little unbelievable, but it added to the overall feeling of the film: gloom, depression, desperation, unfairness. Despite what other people said, I think that this film was great. They should see it not for a film of the horror genre, but of suspense. And while the movie is not scary, it certainly is creepy.
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I expected more.....
NieshaStevens0731 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge fan of the exorcism movie genre and this movie just simply did not meet my expectations.

Now, before I go on to say that this movie was all around bad I will first start off my saying it was not. The opening sequence was a great way to set the tone of what is to be a good film. The possessed child, Emily delivered her character very well and will always remain memorable, sort of like that of Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan). whilst watching this film I couldn't help but be scared, the film delivers at being suspenseful and scary but not horrific. Special effects makeup, short demonic dialogue, the death of only 1 character and extreme harm to 2 characters does not in my opinion define horror. Lacking originality during the ending of the film I was reminded of "The Devil Inside" with the exorcism performed in the desolate hospital and the demon flipping out causing harm to her loved ones and the person performing the exorcism along with the demonic transitioning from the Daughter to the Father. In comparison "The Devil Inside", was from Mother to Daughter.

Originality in this film came from the Jewish exorcist. Not done before, every one of this films predecessors turn to Christian exorcist to perform exorcisms, so that was a plus. As well as the families struggles which remains relate-able to all viewers in some shape, way or form.

I won't spend to much time with this any longer but I did like the film as an overall production just expected a little more based on the teasers and trailers especially since the first Exorcist movie (Linda Blair) still remains a perfect 10 therefore, the best in its genre. I only wish that production companies would stop being so hasty to release films that just does not live up to its expected genre.
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Tired, unimaginative, and sometimes laughable
pachl19 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start with the laughable part: sorry if this sounds politically incorrect or religiously biased but... I couldn't take a hasidic Jew as an "exorcist" seriously at all. At least in movies where the exorcist was a Catholic priest, there seemed to be some semblance of strength behind the ceremony. But a man with curled locks who appears about as dangerous and forceful as a florist just is ridiculous. No offense to anyone of the Jewish faith.

The movie starts off slow. The entire plot revolves around the mysterious box, which somehow I found to be a total dud. The box.... seemed like a box. I never for one minute could imagine it as a repository for a demon soul, or anything else.

All the desperate attempts to create tension were so hackneyed. I found hardly anything original about the plot. Strangely enough, as I'm watching the movie, one thought kept racing through my mind: Ghost House Pictures probably had 1,000 screenplays they could have filmed. THIS was what they considered to be a "winner"?

You probably already know the plot: a girl buys a box that has an evil force inside it. Great... now what? That is the question they should have asked before filming. There simply was nothing compelling about the plot. It certainly didn't provide many scares. It didn't create a realistic place we could believe in. It was very one dimensional.

Exiting the theater I couldn't help but wonder: why film this junk? Did they think it was safe? Did they think it was close enough to "Paranormal Activity" that they'd cash in?

P.S. If you read this review, please let me know with a thumbs up or down. I'm just curious how many people read these.
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Well worth the watching
Steven Johnson5 January 2013
Hello readers. This is my first review of a movie on here and I was inspired to do it after reading petit76 negative view on the film. I am also an avid horror fan pretty much seen them all and I thought this film was excellent! Acting was very good and the storyline is as good as you will get with horror films nowadays which is such hard genre to be original with.

Thats the problem with IMDb nowadays almost every film gets a negative review. This was a most enjoyable horror with some nice fright scenes and I would recommend it to anyone with a spare 90 Min's. A solid 8/10 from me folks enjoy!!
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Dull, but inoffensive exorcism movie!
cmoore5-20-7977651 September 2012
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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Dull, boring, unimaginative, just watch 'The Exorcist'
Daniel O'Sullivan31 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
'The Possession' was incredibly boring, I found myself almost falling asleep. The film's dull, unimaginative and has no substance whatsoever. The film is cliché and really just took too long to 'get into it' and by the time it did I had already lost interest. The acting is the only good part about this film really, apart from the Jewish guy who was hard too take seriously (you'll see what I mean). The editing is the most annoying thing about this film; it's very choppy and unorganised. The film will have an incredibly loud scene which will then cut to a silent scene and then a cliché horror movie soundtrack plays, this annoyed me so much. It probably happened over five times. Also the film isn't even scary, which really does just say it all, honestly I wouldn't bother with 'The Possession' it's dull and lifeless, you're better off watching the actual Exorcist.
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Oozes Blandness and Filled with Unintentional Hilarity
Simon_Says_Movies12 September 2012
Oozing blandness and spattered with unintentional hilarity, The Possession is an amorphous blob of been-there-done-that genre tropes, even with its limp attempt at uniqueness by putting a Jewish spin on the exorcism thriller. As it turns out, a religious figure dressed in goofy clothing muttering gibberish over a twitching young girl is an equally flaccid horror approach across all religious denominations.

If heaps of clichés ranging from the clueless parents to a little girl muttering hateful things in demon tongue weren't enough, The Possession forgets to even be scary, failing to even provide cheap jump scares let alone moments of extended tension. If a room filled with moths or flicking lights is your idea of chilling cinema then I supposed you could find something to admire amidst all the clutter, but for everyone else, this is strictly bargain-bin quality. Likewise, all of the potentially creepy imagery has been bastardized by the marketing material (et tu, poster?).

Even the setting chosen by director Ole Borendal lacks any imagination. Instead of some creepy, dilapidated homestead, he's chosen to stage the paranormal events at a brand new, immaculate home. Just because the characters in this film are too idiotic to ever turn on a light (a recurring decision that had me yelling at the screen towards the end) does not a haunted house make.

The quartet of principle actors who make up the main cast of The Possession include Jeffrey Dean Morgan (wasted here) as the rather clueless divorcée father, Kyra "The Closer" Sedgwick as the bitch-of-a- mother who has to be all "oh I'm so sorry I doubted you, our daughter is actually possessed by the demon Abizu" and their two daughters played by newcomers Natasha Calis and Madison Davenport. Thankfully, these two are quite good, at least saving the film from the oft-seen death sentence that are awful child actors. All of these characters essentially serve as demon fodder, existing to a.) be possessed, b.) be beat up by the possessed, c.) be scared by the possessed or d.) save the possessed. You won't care one iota about the lot of them.

As is always the way, our darling little princess becomes possessed after opening an old wooden box she finds at a yard sale (recycling — it never helps anyone). This is no jewellery box, but rather a religious tool known as a Dybbuk box, used to contain a broken spirit. The aforementioned demon Abizu has now latched onto young Em Brenek intent on doing ... something or another. It seems content to eat a lot of pancakes, spit bugs out of its mouth and talk'smack about peoples' loved ones.

As Em starts acting bizarre and stoic, so leads us into the Google searches for possession cures (I'm sure Web M.D. can clear that stuff right up), wild accusations across the board as to what is going on and the eventual exorcism, which apparently in Jewish cultures looks like Weird Al Yankovic rapping and head-bopping while screeching the demon's name like he's tripping balls on ecstasy. As I iterated before, exorcism in film has become an utterly eye-rolling procedure after decades of dilution and overexposure. The sequence in The Possession is particularly laughable.

There have certainly been far worse horror efforts this year both on the indie circuit and for main Hollywood releases, but The Possession is easily the most lifeless – content on existing without identity. If you have never seen an exorcism movie before, there are certainly (sadly) worse places you could start. But considering that the dated special effects and sometimes hammy performances from The Exorcist haven't degraded that classic from still being the greatest of its type, speaks volumes to the complacency of today's horror industry to churn out the mediocre and falsely brand it as cutting-edge.
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I think it was about the worst exorcism movie I've ever seen don't waste the money to see it
heather-467-2346363 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I expected way more out of this movie the best parts were in the trailer! The music in the background was the worst. They're were people in the theater laughing at the parts that were supposed to be scary to sum it all up! Im a huge fan of Exorcisim movies and this was pretty much a waste of money to me Id rather have just watched the Exorcism of Emily Rose or even that T.V. show A Haunting. I mean with the budget on this movie you would think they could have came up with something WAY better than what they did I know I could have I mean really what the hell was the director thinking I found the acting a bit dry and boring! Anyways I hope this has helped some one some where save money and time from seeing this crap movie!
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Hebrew Horror Done Very Well (Atmosphere, music, tension, character building, plot, etc)
Phillip Yanda1 September 2012
OVERALL: It was an incredibly well done, intricately put together and thoroughly thought out movie! It was about what'd you expect and quite a bit more too! I was pretty surprised and pleased with everything really. While there weren't any "pop out scares" (Thank You Jesus!) the movie is essentially all suspense/build up/tension and/or drama between the family. The movie was surprisingly unrelenting in this way. Even so, there was plenty of character building, maturing of plot, and overall depth all throughout the movie. There were several moments where I connected so deeply with the family that I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. This is a movie that will tear at your heart strings! Unlike most horrors which propose detached scares and thrills alone, this movie drew you into it's story and cast and admirably well too! I felt like I knew them fairly well by the end of the movie- which is, mind you, only an hour and thirty two minute long flick! The ending is left open but satisfyingly so. There's not much to NOT like about the movie really. My friends and I felt it was truly creepy and terrifying, but it's not scary in the same way as most horrors. It's very unique in this way. Also, the movie is very atmospheric and while similar sounds and feels are repeated throughout the movie, this simplicity only strengthens the tension and depth of the movie. 

HEBREW HORROR? What intrigued me about it initially was that it took things from a Jewish perspective spiritually and with the exorcism aspect especially. I was pleased with how all of this was incorporated into the movie. It was also very cool to have Matisyahu features in this movie! Again, I find it literally difficult to find problems in this movie. This is a true chiller (horror, but with suspense and dramatic elements not pure gore, nudity or etc- in fact the movie is rated PG 13- though it is still disturbing in its own right, to be sure) at its best!

CHEESINESS FACTOR? There was really no cheese in this movie. Just about everything is believable and realistic to both spiritual (ok, generally anyways. You don't watch horrors to learn theology! :p) and physical (divorce, overall conflict in the family, etc) realms.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? If the trailer appealed to you, or other movies of the sort do, don't hesitate to see it! Check this movie out! Sam Raimi produced it, Matisyahu stars, this is the only Hebrew horror influenced movie that I'm aware of!.. See it! Definitely recommended for horror movie and exorcism movie fans.
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This should have been labeled a Comedy
cairbrellyr2 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I admit the trailer had me sucked in. I was really looking forward to the movie. However the reality is, the best parts were in the trailer and those were the only somewhat "scary" parts of the movie. I found it anticlimactic. The plot was predictable and uninspired. I sat there going …. Oh, that looks like it's from this movie, or that reminds me of The Ring (a movie that wasn't worth the money). And the creature that crawls out at the end looked like a cross between the Ring and Gollum from LOTR.

I also found it amusing that Clyde couldn't recognize the script as Hebrew. It was obvious to me and everyone I've spoken to despite the lack of lighting typical of trying to set the tone in horror films (guess what, it failed here). Also, why did it take so long for him to put together the box was the root of it? She starts acting weird shortly after you bring the box home and she is always referring to the box and the teacher dies while the box is in her custody and you don't find that the least bit worth looking into? It took way too long for the box to be seen as the source of the problem.

I jumped once, when the book was tossed across the room and there were so many other places that it could have worked. I found the movie lacked tension and over dramatized scenes that shouldn't have been. Sorry, but if you are a mother and hear a child crying, you're not going to stealthy creep around looking for that child. And when a vegetarian child has a raw steak hanging from her mouth… You don't think that's a bit more than she's having a bad night and needs a hug? By the time they brought in the Tzadok I was more interested in the history of the box and the hows of the upcoming exorcism then the plot of the movie. Really, this should have been a documentary, it would have worked better. The TV paranormal shows have more of a shock/fear factor than this movie did.

The acting was horrid and unbelievable. I love Kyra Sedgwick, but I think maybe she should stay away from horror, she doesn't believably portray fear in this movie. Natasha Calis was good given the script and the overused make-up techniques and lack of inspiration in wardrobe. Jeffrey Morgan was alright too, but the lack of inspiration in the script I think held him and the rest back. Of all of the actors, I think Madison Davenport was the most believable.

You know the horror movie is a failure when the lights come up and the majority of the audience lets out the pent up laughter they've been trying to keep in for the majority of the movie.

All in all the movie makes a good comedy, and I was entertained if not in the way I had anticipated, but if you are interested in being scared watch something else.
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A Nutshell Review: The Possession
DICK STEEL22 September 2012
I'm a little bit wary when a horror film touts itself as based on a true story, because one can only take that with a pinch of salt, given that it's a film after all, and there's a need to dress it up for the silver screen and for dramatic purposes. Moreover, having to state the events took place in less than a month, seemed a little bit far fetched, given how the screenplay played things out, which made it look like months instead. Still, for the curious, you may want to look up an article called Jinx in a Box written by Leslie Gornstein, which the events in this film is purportedly based on.

So is it any good, given that the trailer essentially told the entire story from beginning to end? It got better as it moved along, and really tested your patience in the first half of the film since it really took a long time before a turn of events leading to the first boo. It introduced the characters of a dysfunctional family, where Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has already divorced from wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick), with the former getting only the weekends to spend time with daughters Hannah (Madison Davenport) and Em (Natasha Calis). The arrangements seem pretty well oiled, with Clyde having moved to another house of his own conveniently located in a new neighbourhood. As part of moving in, they pick up extra dishes at someone's backyard jumble sale, and Em gets attracted to a mysterious box, which gets bought and brought home.

Warning lights are probably flashing now, since stories of old have already warned never to pick up strange looking objects from anywhere and bringing them home. Opening Pandora's Box is also something nobody should do, and when done, welcomes a whole lot of trouble. Em becomes possessed and Natasha Calis almost got a chance to be the next Linda Blair in The Exorcist, except that The Possession minus all the kinky moves that would make parents frown and grown ups blush. Make up also helped to make her look her zombie best, coupled with fans borrowed from a Bollywood studio to let her hair fly around when the air around is still. And for those who object her bout of violent behaviour, especially when becoming possessive and protective of the mysterious box, even stranger things happen, and her unusual behaviour soon triggers Clyde to do some sleuthing of his own.

Credit must be given when credit is due, so Danish director Ole Bornedal did what he could in avoiding the usual clichés of slamming doors and jump scares. Instead, the focus was on building atmospherics through the use of creepy crawlies, and he succeeded to an extent in doing that. It took a while to build up a story, which could have done a lot more with its context of dismissing the change of the child's behaviour because of the psychological pressures in dealing with her parents' divorce, but this never really quite took off.

Instead, the last half hour floored the pedal to the metal, moving at breakneck speed and allowed a battle of good and evil, and dealing with a parent's undying love for his child, complete with self-sacrificing gesture to try and lure the evil that is inside. While there are a whole host of exorcist type films of late, to varying degrees of success and presentation, this one probably was one of the first that I've seen that was a Jewish exorcism, not involving a priest but a rabbi (Matisyahu) instead, with certain rites performed I'm sure didn't had much of an authentic ring to it (I may be wrong). And to make things a little laughable, there was a scene where Clyde thought he could do it alone through the learning of the rites on Vimeo (wonder how much they had to pay to displace YouTube), before seeking professional help.

But the unforgivable element in the film, is the editing. For all the good work that was done in the film, with the actors trying their best to flesh out a relatively flimsy storyline, everything got let down by the poor, poor editing. This probably came from having 2 editors in Eric Beason and Anders Villadsen handle the film, so one can only speculate on the clash of ideas. Ultimately it really reflected their weak editing skills and the limited scope of their abilities, making almost every transition here a fade to black, probably the only technique they can both agree on. This irritates since it's so frequently used, especially at the beginning of the film, and made it all worst when it was used so carelessly in the gripping finale, totally spoiling the mood and threw a spanner in the works. It's really choppy work, got in the way and drew attention to itself, so it was bewildering why the filmmakers had let this pass, rather than to fire them both and get someone else instead.
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If you don't like this, then you're possessed
SmakethDown63831 August 2012
Yes, you have seen and are familiar with possession films. Ever since The Exorcist, we've seen a number of pretenders. However, despite a lot of imitators, there are many that are solid like Beyond the Door. Yes, we've been getting a lot of possession films, but that is to be expected when they keep making all kinds of money. Don't worry, this is a solid horror film overall. The acting was good as the cast was perfect. The suspense was there with the nice buildup and the atmosphere. What I liked is that this was about the Jewish religion instead of the usual run-of-the-mill Christian or Catholic religious theme. The film was shot well and the production values were a plus.

I really liked the climax as it was up there with the Exorcist. I thought it was pretty intense and memorable. You just didn't know what was going to happen, thus keeping you on edge. Emily is a character that I will remember in horror history as I kept thinking of Regan from the Exorcist. Great performances all around.

The special effects were solid. None of the CGI was terrible as it was polished, making things feel realistic. There are scenes in this movie that will stick with you. There were some memorable quotes in this movie as well.

I am glad I saw this. I am also glad that my Possession button from Comic Con 2012 was not a throwaway freebie as well!
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Not a boring movie, well acted and instructed..
Tobias_hink26 March 2013
Even though i only rated it 5, which usually means it didn't live up to expectation, I didn't regret seeing it..

It is extreme well acted by not-to-popular actors, and the effects and directing is good as well..

It's definitely a new kind of demon movie, more modern, more 'realistic'.. by the latter I mean in comparison to other late demon movies..

It's worth the watch, and would have giving it 6, if it wasn't for the disappointing ending (IMO).. see it and judge for yourself.

I think the movie brings something new to the table, and doesn't use lame sound effects to make a scary scene..
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CMTiago24 July 2014
Quite simply, I thought that The Possession was boring and not worth my full investment into the story. It's not by any means an abomination, but it's far from being at least good. The plot centers around a family's struggle, when their youngest is possessed by a demon and an exorcism is required to save her. Whereas in movies like The Exorcist, I actually cared for the character's well being, in this flick the reasons behind the possession is a decision that could have basically been avoided. The character's weren't exactly unlikable, but they weren't good enough to earn my full support for them in the film. The performances are decent enough for the movie that is being made, so at least there's one good thing about it. For all your Horror movie fans I reckon you should watch this movie. In the end some of you may appreciate it, and others like me may just shrug it off as another generic horror flick. I leave it up to you.

Rating: 3/10
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What would possess someone to watch?
Kid Retro13 December 2013
The Possession is nothing more than your run-of-the-mill, "based on a true story" horror film. This means that It has its moments but ultimately fails to provide any scares or lasting effect.

The story involves a split family with two daughters. After exposure to a demonic box, one of the little girls becomes possessed by a demon (I wonder where we have seen that before?)

If you are watching it in hopes of a fright-fest, prepare for disappointment. The movie offers more backstory and character development than supernatural struggle. However, the scenes that are "frightening" are made using cheap, jump scares. Everyone reacts differently to jump scares but I did not even flinch during this film; it was more of a groan and a "really?"

By the end of the film, I felt unsatisfied and knew that I could have devoted my time to something worth watching. From start to finish, this movie is filled with clichés and plot holes. I will admit, plot holes in horror films shouldn't matter but rather the "scare" element. It is too bad that The Possession fails that both.
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Good, But Not Great
user-543-97565515 August 2013
I'll start off being straight to the point. It's OK. It had about 2 jump scares in the whole movie, both of which weren't that scary. The scary parts in the film were made scary by very cliché things that you would see in any possession movie. It did have it's original points, however. I have a scale I use. Awful, Bad, OK, Good, Great. This was an OK movie. Well, a high OK movie. I say that because it wasn't that original, very cliché and wasn't that scary. Yet had fantastic acting from all characters for the genre. I mean, these days, you can't really find an OK possession movie. They're usually awful or bad. I personally can't see what all the hype was about. When I rent a movie or see a movie I like a lot in theaters, I want to get it on DVD to add to my collection. This movie, I could care less about getting. I wouldn't mind it, but I don't want to spend money on it, if that makes any sense. Now, back to the scares. It can be compared to Insidious for only one reason, because it is scary because it has long, drawn out scenes of suspense and scariness. To the positive things. I thought it did have some really cool scenes. As Em keeps getting more and more effected by the possession, the movie keeps getting more and more scary. I thought that the end scene was particularly frightening, because of the special effects. They were fantastic. In fact, the only frightening scene was the end. It was loud and suspenseful, and masterly crafted. That is one of the only good parts of the movie. Overall, I give this movie a 6/10 because it is scary sometimes, very cliché, well directed, not very scary until the end.
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