Review: The Possession (2012)

Just when you thought we’d had enough, along comes another horror yarn based on a supposed “true story” involving an exorcism. In the case of The Possession, I’m not exactly sure how much truth there is behind the events chronicled, not to mention the entire production is comprised of one yawn-inducing chain of events so hampered by technical instability that it’s hard to compliment it in the slightest. To its credit though, director Ole Bornedal seems to know what his audience will inevitably cringe at, i.e. insects and stray teeth, however it’s a shame that unoriginality so frequently plagues every minute of the proceedings.

There isn’t much to be said about the central story arc involving a young girl falling victim to the film’s title, with young Em leading a double-life as one part innocent child, other part demonic catalyst. Unsubtly avoiding one religious sect to favor another, the film’s titular menace is of Hebrew origin, characterized as a dybbuk to fight against horror convention for all of fifteen minutes as a rabbi shouts the fucking thing to death during an agreeably tense if predictable latter act. This aside, everything’s so poorly scripted that genuine scares of the “BOO!” variety are virtually nonexistent, transforming The Possession into something plagued by inconsequential build-ups that lead to absolutely nothing despite how terrifying you find moths to be.

Before I begin to repeat myself, I’ll end by saying that The Possession fails to redeem itself at quite literally every turn. In my always humble opinion, you can only beat a dead horse so much before it turns to pulp, and Ole Bornedal’s go with the exorcism subgenre we’ve come to know and loathe is a metaphorical representation of that final blow. With performances as lackluster as the script itself and cheap, ineffective jabs at terror in its final moments, a great deal of this film is unnecessary and subsequently forgettable in the worst of ways. Barring its textbook narrative trajectory, I still assure you there’s nothing that could possibly possess you to see The Possession, and that comes from the heart.

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