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Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses is a documentary film that lifts the veil of secrecy on what became known as "The Wainuiomata exorcism", to reveal the extra-ordinary true story of how both love and fear could drive a New Zealand family to unwittingly kill one of their own.
A film determined to reinforce myths rather than undertake any meaningful analysis
This 'documentary' is determined to sensationalize and reinforce the myth of 'makutu' rather than offer any real insight into the tragic death of young women Janet Moses at the hands of her own family, who believed she was possessed by a 'makutu', or Maori curse, and ruthlessly drowned her to death in an exorcism ceremony.
The film contains dramatizations of the events that occurred, that are powerful and generally well done. However, where it falls short is in the commentary by those who had nothing to do with the case but happily offer their 'expert' opinions on what was happening to Janet.
Every single one these people support the theory that Janet was cursed by makutu. The film doesn't once seek the opinion of any actual medical professional such as a psychologist or neurologist, that could offer an informed view as to Janet's condition, but instead replies on the bias views of spiritual leaders, new-age types and pseudo scholars. Janet clearly suffered from a serious mental breakdown and the fact that nothing is done to explore this does no justice to her or her family.
A sad missed opportunity that in it's efforts to be cultural sensitive to Maori at all costs legitimizes bizarre and dangerous believes.
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