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The Possession

The film begins with an old woman trying to open a strange box. She turns on old classic music and grabs holy water and a hammer. Before she is able to destroy the box, she is thrown violently around the room by an unseen force. When her son enters, she is unconscious on the floor. Next, the aud...

Safe Bet

As much as I loved watching John Winchester, patriarch of TV show Supernatural, hunt something supernatural in a different acting role, I couldn't get over just how bad the acting was in this movie overall. Don't get me wrong, Jefferey Dean Morgan did a hell of a job. But his costars, including veteran actress Kyra Sedgwick, just fell short. Although I suppose you shouldn't blame them, seeing as the script doesn't give them much to work with.

Despite the mostly cheap scares in 'The Possession”, there were a few scenes where I genuinely cringed, including a particular scene with moths that made me put down my sandwich and wait a little bit. However, most of the scary bits felt too forced, like the baddie monster is standing there with a sign saying “LOOK AT ME!” and expecting us to be scared. It's hard to jump at something when the music conveniently swells to Wagnerian proportions in the preceding seconds.

The film's saving grace is the content. To my knowledge, there have only been a few movies involving Jewish folkore (Golem is the only one that comes to mind), and even fewer about Jewish exorcisms. The film centers around a ten-year-old girl's possession by a dybbuk, a malevolent 'detached spirit'. I did a little background research, and it seems that The Possession did their homework. Most of the lore about dybbuks in the film is actually true, with only slight variation in one or two aspects. It was quite refreshing to see accuracy and authenticity in a film, especially since Rabbinic practices are largely unknown outside of the Jewish faith. The directors also managed to avoid presenting the various Orthodox Jews in the film as kitschy, and even artfully dodged the whole 'Holocaust' thing in the process. Kudos to them.

Overall, I would give The Possession a chance, even if only as a portal to other possession movies of higher quality. If you liked this one, then you'll definitely love a beefed-up, better-written version of it.

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