Directed by Ole Bornedal
Written by Stiles White and Juliet Snowden
Based on the article “Jinx in a Box” by Leslie Gornstein
Any possession movie, especially that movie in which the possession of a child, especially a young girl by a demonic force, owes its existence to The Exorcist. Since William Friedkin’s groundbreaking horror film made its debut in 1973 there have been countless films that have tried to capture its dark magic. It should come as no surprise when I say that most have failed miserably. The Possession, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick as the divorced parents of a child overtaken by a Jewish demon called a dybbuk is merely another in that long line of failures. For Morgan, it’s an episode of Supernatural sans Sam and Dean Winchester and the wit and charm of that series. For Kyra Sedgwick it’s the chance for her to spin her wheels until that something better-which never seems to come along-comes along. The Possession wants so badly to be The Exorcist that it nearly plagiarizes scenes or ideas:
Regan (Linda Blair) played with a Ouija board before becoming possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Em (Natasha Calis) becomes possessed by the dybbuk (a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person) Abizou.
In The Exorcist objects fly around Regan’s room and her bed shakes violently. The same thing happens in The Possession; albeit with moths.
Chris McNeill (Ellen Burstyn) pleads with a priest to help her daughter. Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) pleads with a group of Hasidic Jews for help with his daughter.
Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) commands Pazuzu to come out of Regan and into him. Clyde pleads with Abizou to do the exact same thing.
I wanted to like The Possession, I truly did. I’ve been a fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan since his turn as Comedian in Watchmen. He’s that actor who’s just on the brink of being a household name; he’s just not quite there yet. Sadly to say, but with a near plagiaristic stinker like The Possession, he’s not going to get there anytime soon.