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7/10
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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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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7/10
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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6/10
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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9/10
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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8/10
Great Horror film
abdelgulabkhan5 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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6/10
Conventional Movie of Possession and Exorcism
claudio_carvalho18 February 2013
The basketball coach Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) divorced a couple of months ago and their teenage daughter Hannah (Madison Davenport) and the girl Emily 'Em' (Natasha Calis) 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 (Grant Show) do not pay attention to him and get a restraining order against Clyde.

Clyde seeks out Professor McMannis (Jay Brazeau) 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 (Matisyahu) returns with him expecting to exorcise Em to save the girl.

"The Possession" is a conventional movie of possession and exorcism but is not a bad movie, with good performances. However, the story is totally predictable and does not show anything new in the genre. Last but not the least, Brett simply vanishes from the story without any further explanation. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Possessão" ("Possession")
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8/10
It's not your average 'lets walk down the stairs backwards and puke over a priest' possession movie!
sarahxxlou23 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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6/10
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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3/10
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.

playeraffinity.com
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8/10
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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1/10
Exorcist clone #666
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki28 October 2012
Uncomfortable Exorcist variant has a small girl buying an antique wooden box at a garage sale and, after finally managing to crack it open at home, slowly becoming possessed by the demon locked inside of the box. Her acrimoniously divorced parents send her to doctors, counseling, and therapy, before ultimately calling a Jewish exorcist to rid her of the demon.

Aside from the Jewish angle, there is nothing to distinguish this from any other Exorcist clone, and nothing to really recommend it, either, even though Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as the girl's dad) does well with the uninspired material. Kyra Sedgwick's character (the mother) is thoroughly annoying, however, and an overall feeling of unease sets in, watching a small child in peril like this, puking moths and violently attacking others, and willing some guy's teeth to all fall out simultaneously. And of course, there is the obligatory shock twist ending, setting things up for another go round.
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4/10
It had it's moments, but it just failed to make it to the finish line...
paul_haakonsen30 December 2012
Based on a true story? Mmm-hmmm, sure...

This movie was somewhat of an anti-climatic experience. The movie did quite well in building up suspense and leading up to something. However, that something just never came, and the movie ended abruptly and in a way that just left the audience hanging with a sense of 'was that really it?' and disappointment.

The story, in itself, was actually interesting enough, and director Ole Bornedal actually did a great enough job with the story and the execution of it, but the movie just suffered from a lack of proper peaking and from not having an ending that was satisfactory in any way.

What worked best in "The Possession" was the mood of the story and the acting performances put on by Natasha Calis (playing Em) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (playing Clyde). There were a good number of interesting moments in the movie that were nicely shot and even better planned. Great moments in shock value and thrills.

However, what made me laugh the most was ironically enough the best scene in the movie. It was the scene with the scanning in the hospital. It was a really beautiful and interesting scene, and the CGI on the scanned images was really good. However, the way that the doctor's didn't behave or respond to the power surges that caused moments of power outage and the disturbing image of a demonic face on the scan, that was just priceless. Never seen that much disinterest and lack of attention by doctors ever.

"The Possession" ends just right when the story starts to get to the good stuff, and it just seems like they had to quickly wrap it up and call it quits. The ending was laughable and predictable to the point where it was starting to be physically painful. And the dybbuk itself was nowhere near being scary when you finally got to see it.

All in all, the movie does have its moments, unfortunately, it just didn't fully deliver the impact that it had the potential to. "The Possession" is a movie experience just under average, and there are far better demonic possession movies out there, both of older and more recent date.
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8/10
Well worth the watching
mcclaresteven5 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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1/10
A Box Full of Nothing
stwmby16 August 2018
I'm not going to dress this review up in fine prose. I've already lost two hours watching this piece of amateur and insulting crap - I'm not going to waste any more time than I have to.

Poor poor appalling poor acting

Hopelessly amateur continuity (check out the father walking to the cupboard under the stairs to collect his belongings, then having a row with his estranged wife, then picking up his belongings. Next scene? The husband walking to the cupboard under the stairs to collect his possessions.)

Yup, it's that bad..

Characterisation is one dimensional, hackneyed, and boring.

Story is one dimensional, hackneyed and boring

If this film were a building the owners would burn it down for the insurance money. It is slow boring, predictable, unimaginative, horror by numbers, rubbish

And one more thing, the actor playing the lead is so wet he'd make a halibut look charismatic

How the holy hell has this film got a rating of 5.9?! The makers must've been up all night upscorng this piece of tripe

AVOID!!
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6/10
Routine and typical possession movie with chills, thrills, plot twists and creepy events
ma-cortes5 February 2022
A teen : Natasha Callis buys a strange box at a yard sale. But then things go wrong when in the box emerges a weird spirit. Along the way, the girl's dad : Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his ex-wife : Kyra Sedgwick attempt to find out the bizarre possession and to end the nightmarish curse. Fear the Demon that doesn't fear God !. Darkness lives inside. Pray for Her. Based on a true story.

Ordinary Exorcist movie style with usual ingredients as possession, violent events, disgusting faces from the possessed people, grisly crimes and poltergeister phenomena . The plot is plain and simple, a girl adquires an antique box unware that inside there's a terrible and malicious spirit, resulting in fateful consequences. The main difference between this Possession 2012 and others Exorcist clones is the "Jew" view point, while the remaining films used to be "Catholic" ones. As the father finely interpreted by Jeffrey Dean Morgan hires a Jewish priest to free his daughter from the callous curse and he'll stop at nothing to get it. Nice main cast : Natasha Callis , Jeffrey Dean Morgan , Kyra Sedgwick are pretty good . Along with enjoyable support cast , such as : Madison Davenport , Matisyahu , Rob LaBelle , Jay Brezau and Grant Show.

It displays a thrilling and suspenseful musical score by Anton Sanko. Likewise, appropriate and atmospheric cinematography by Dan Laustsen. The motion picture was professionally directed by Ole Bornedal . He is good craftsman who has directed a few films , such as : Nightwatch 1994, and its American rendition : Nightwatch 1999, Dina, The Substitute and TV series as 1984, among others. Rating : 6/10. Acceptable horror movie, neither extraordinary, not notable, but passable. The flick will allpeal to Horror genre enthusiasts.
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5/10
Based on a true story, my arse.
BA_Harrison23 November 2017
The Possession—not to be confused with Possession (1981), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), The Possessed (2017), The Possession of Michael King (2014), or countless other films based around demonic possession and exorcism—is about as inspired as its title.

The story is cookie-cutter stuff, The Exorcist given a Jewish spin, and sees a young girl, Em (Natasha Calis), buying a box from a yard sale unaware that it contains an evil spirit called a Dybbuk. On opening the box, Em becomes possessed by the Dybbuk, much to the horror of her recently divorced parents (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick), who call in a Jewish priest (Matisyahu) to cast the spirit out.

Director Ole Bornedal rattles off all the expected genre clichés and numerous less-than-effective jump scares whilst simultaneously leaving several plot threads dangling (where did Brett drive off to after his teeth fell out? What was the significance of the moths? Why did the Dybbuk stop some people using supernatural force but allow others to seek help? Why does the spirit leave Em and enter Clyde at the end?). The result is a mediocre movie at best.

4.5 out of 10, rounded up to 5 for IMDb.
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5/10
Failed to distinguish itself
view_and_review6 July 2013
Ever since "The Exorcist" and later "The Ring" successfully made scary movies casting girls as the possessed everyone wants to follow suit. I'll admit that children do enhance the creepy factor, but it's not an automatic. This movie did not deliver any significant suspense, thrills or horror. Besides making the exorcism Judaic, this movie had nothing new to bring to the possession type genre.

This was a run of the mill bland movie. There were the divorced parents, the naive and innocent younger daughter, the sassy more astute older daughter, and mom's new boyfriend. Throw a cursed box into the mix and you have another vanilla demon movie. This movie could not break itself away from the pack--even the ending was cliché.
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4/10
They're still making these?
Leofwine_draca9 November 2015
THE POSSESSION is yet another vanilla-flavoured American version of a Japanese ghost film. This one's not a remake for a change, but the similarities and scare sequences appear to have been liberally borrowed from the likes of THE GRUDGE remake and others besides. Unsurprisingly, Sam Raimi's production company Ghost House Pictures is behind this, producers of THE GRUDGE and its sequels.

This time around, the plot revolves around an old box that might just have a demon hiding inside it. The box comes into the possession of a young girl and the rest of the film is a knock off of THE EXORCIST and all the other demonic possession type films you can think of. There are a few startling scenes here, but for most of the running time THE POSSESSION is a bland, predictable bore, shoehorned into a PG-13 rating.

Danish director Ole Bornedal was once acclaimed for his thriller NIGHTWATCH but nowadays seems to be treading water. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was so memorable in WATCHMEN but his nice guy fatherly hero type is bland beyond belief, and the less said about Kyra Sedgwick the better. The child actors appear to think screaming and screeching all the while amounts to realistic acting, whereas in reality it's just annoying. THE POSSESSION is Hollywood film-making at its blandest.
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3/10
What's in the box?!!!
ghost_dog8620 September 2012
"The Possession" is basically a cautionary tale about what happens when you wear cheap jewelry. Directed by Ole Bornedal and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (or a poor man's Javier Bardem) Kyra Sedgwick (a poor woman's actress) and Matisyahu (he's still around?) this "horror" story centers around a divorced couple with joint custody of their two daughters. One day (on daddy's watch) the younger daughter stumbles upon an antique jewelry-esque box at a garage sale. Little does she know that the box contains a "malicious ancient spirit", and it doesn't take long for the box to begin to change how the little girl acts around her parents and to have creepy fingers coming out of her mouth (you've seen the trailers). After that, we get a story where Jeffrey Dean Morgan is running around frantically trying to find out why his daughter is constantly speaking in an annoying demon voice. But will he be able to cure her before the demon takes over his child's body? And more importantly: Will the "malicious ancient spirit" be the thing that could possibly mend this broken family? All of these questions, and more, will be answered in "The Possession". Did I just make it all sound like a bad TV show? Good, since all "The Possession" delivers is an ABC Family after-school special, with demons in it. And therein lies its flaw. Now, are there moments of creepiness? Yes, there are (mostly in the visually engaging climax) but all in all, the story itself is far too simplistically tame and awkwardly silly to be a scary, or even well done, possession story.

In Short: The movie is filled with unintentionally comical moments, the acting is pretty terrible across the board (I realize that nobody is going to watch "The Possession" for the acting, but…) and the story is completely a horror story by-the-numbers. In fact, there is really nothing to like (or be scared about) here until a final half-hour, which surprisingly showcases a visual final sequence which was actually scary.

Side Note: This movie is not altogether as bad as it could have been, BUT if one is going to enjoy a film like "The Possession", the biggest piece of advice I could give would be, do not (DO NOT) fall into the trap of analyzing the validity of the storyline (as this is supposedly "based on a true story") because if you do, this film will fall apart upon contact. Riddled with insanely obvious plot-holes, "The Possession" could be seen (by some) as a scary movie for people who thought "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was far too complicated. And that would explain why I did slightly begin to enjoy this film once I turned my brain off and focused solely on the visuals.

Final Thought: Proclaiming "The Possession" as the Jewish "Exorcist", as many critics may have a tendency to do, may be more than a bit of a misnomer. I would say that "The Possession" is more like a dumbed down version of "The Exorcist". And again, while this film has its moments that do show off Bornedal's ability to construct a very visually disturbing ending (saving it from being just another one-star movie on Netflix) the story itself is suffocated by its own PG-13 plot so much so, that by the time anything scary happens, many audiences will have completely given up on this film.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
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8/10
Now This Is What I'm Talking About! Scary, But Clichéd!
nairtejas2 January 2013
This is one of a kind movie where the plot, direction, screenplay & music is STRAIGHTFORWARD!

The story is clichéd, but the scary scenes have got some matter in it unlike the ones the usual public like and love and rate good. I go with Roger Ebert when he says that this is one of the better remake or spin- off or inspiration of The Exorcist! True That!

Cast is good. For a moment, I thought the father was Clive Owen, but next moment I knew he was Javier Bardem! But turns out he is Jeffrey! :P All people had some good performance etched into them.

But I seriously think there were some loopholes which makes it too gaudy, dull and rusty. Unwanted sequences jammed this one which could have been easily edited to 100 minutes. There is a scene at the end where you know that it WILL HAPPEN, coz no horror movie goes without it!

Overall, a scary watch!

WATCH OUT FOR: the spooky soundtrack! Amazing!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

Language: No | Sex: No | Violence: Yes | Nudity: No | Drugs: No
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10/10
Hebrew Horror Done Very Well (Atmosphere, music, tension, character building, plot, etc)
philyanda1 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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6/10
Grade F Cinematic Muck
rivertam2631 August 2012
There's been a slew of truly great horror films this year exiled to VOD debuts The Tall Man, Rec Genesis, Rites of Spring, Lovely Molly amongst many others hell even Piranha 3DD had it's moments. So why is that we've been tortured the last two weekends with The Apparition and now The Possession. A generic youth targeted horror yarn that fits it's lame over used title.The film centers on a young girl, a child of divorce of course who cons her dad into buying her some crap from a yard sale one item being an old wooden box with carvings in hebrew on it.Eventually she gets it open and the force within it begins to take hold of her. At first it's slight things before moving onto aggressive behavior. Soon after her father discovers it's a Dibuk box that holds an evil spirit. That spirit has of course inhabited his daughter so he entails the help of religious Rabi played by rap/reggae maestro Matsyuah to help him exorcise his daughter. Yes the film is a Jewish sort of play on the exorcist but the results are mostly unintentionally funny. The screenplay has moments of inspiration but is too clichéd to be throughly engaging, the direction is amateur at best there are pacing issues as well as odd cuts that make the overall effect confused and silly. The spfx are all pretty standard with some inspired gags mostly seen in the trailers, the score is absurdly dramatic and unfitting and as for the performances. Natasha Gal in the lead as Em is pretty bad. Her performance is uneven, annoying and overly dramatic which I'm sure has a lot to do with the atrocious direction. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is runner up in the bad performance department especially in his supposed tear inducing emotional scenes. Kyra Sedgwick is pretty much the only ray of light and even she's only solid 80 percent of the time and actually Matsyuah is not too bad either even though his character feels like he's plugged in as an afterthought. And I just loved how the sold out idiotic audience laughed at the way in which he performed the religious ceremony and chuckled whenever he appeared on screen in his religious garb. Enforcing the type of audience this is geared towards.The film is just grade F cinematic muck it's insulting and pretty embarrassing on almost every level. I mean after last week's cinematic genre dud The Apparition I didn't think it could get much worse but it does but at least that film was a lot shorter at 75 mins. this one clocks in at an unforgivable 105 mins. and you can feel every moment of it. If Sam Raimi keeps producing crap like this no one is gonna turn out for his unnecessary Evil Dead remake. Also I really don't have anything against PG-13 horror films I enjoyed both Ring films, The first Grudge, Haunting in Connecticut, When a stranger calls and so many others it's just that I have a thing against bad movies with little to no redeemable qualities. And judged by the characters actions in these films it's obvious they are living on a different line of reality than we are, maybe in that dimension this garbage passes as a movie. The scariest thing about this whole production is that the filmmakers have left it open for a sequel. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! 1.5/5
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9/10
How was this only a 5????
jade_skyler24 February 2013
A few months ago the scariest movie on my list of favorites was Insidious. Last week the scariest became Sinister, though it disturbed me so it wasn't my favorite. Today we watched Possession. I Loved It! I don't see how people say this was just a rip of every other movie, the scene when the girl was in the hospital made me want to cry it creeped me out so much. Never before have I seen it involve the religion this movie did, as I have only ever seen Catholics in possession movies. and oh my gosh when they saw the demon! My fiancé and his best friend jumped!Not only that but they really built up the characters, they had a story to them, didn't just jump into the scares. I loved this movie, it is at the top of my scary movie list. My only complaint was it hit its climax rather soon, but it continued to be scary right up until the end.
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4/10
Disturbing true story
dar041711 February 2020
Disturbing true story but the movie was truly awful. Don't waster your time.
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