The Possession

The Possession

Film4 FrightFest

23-27 August 2012, Empire, London

FrightFest website

Format: Cinema

Release date: 31 August 2012

Venues: nationwide

Distributor: Lionsgate

Director: Ole Bornedal

Writers: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White

Cast: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick

USA 2012

92 mins

Anyone hoping to find director Ole Bornedal’s nervy, unexpected and intricately constructed style so apparent in his previous films should brace themselves for one hell of a disappointment. The Possession is a strictly-by-the-numbers possession story replete with cheap jump shocks and ill-thought plot devices.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Clyde, a divorcee who is trying to juggle his duties as a father with his job while still holding a torch for his ex-wife Stephanie (played by Kyra Sedgwick). On a weekend out with his daughters Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport) they stop off at a yard sale where Em buys an old box with engravings.

It’s not hard to guess that this is the catalyst for an ancient evil to invade the family’s life and while the opening of the film is strong without being exceptional, from here on the whole thing becomes an over-the-top cliché-ridden futile exercise. The jumps are predictable, the dialogue sounds plain silly and, most of all, the direction seems pedestrian and half-hearted, and this is without even going into the missed opportunity in using an evil spirit culled from Jewish mythology as the source of evil.

Definitely one to miss and here’s hoping Ole Bornedal brings back his mischievous, ingenious style with his next movie.

Evrim Ersoy

The Possession premiered at Film4 FrightFest on August 27.
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