The Possession: The next Jennifer Carpenter is born

My brother and I are suckers for horror, so it comes as no surprise that while other moviegoers were lining up for Total Recall, we were getting tickets to The Possession,  featuring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgewick in this chilling true story.

After a year apart, estranged couple Clyde (Morgan), an ambitious coach for a community college and his wife Stephanie (Sedgewick) have agreed to get a divorce and share custody of their girls Hannah (Maddison Davenport) and Em (Natasha Calis). Hannah is the more outgoing of the two while Em has more of a vegan/activist sort of vibe going on. Wanting his children to have more stability, Clyde gets a new house in the outskirts of town and the girls help him fill his new home with knicknacks that they got from a yard sale close by. Em gets attached to a weird chest with some foreign language carved on the cover and she gradually begins to change and grow more violent because of it.

I should say that The Possessions is one of the better possession movies I’ve seen since Emily Rose. Most of this I credit to excellent cinematography and framing and strategic use of eerie music to set the mood of the film.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the clueless father and Kyra Sedgewick as the overprotective mother hen play off each other well but it is actually young Natasha Calis who stood out in this movie as the possessed Em. She bears a striking resemblance to Anna Pacquin when she was young, and their acting chops match as well. Calis was able to balance her performance as an innocent young girl with the vicious dybbuk Abizo with a seamlessness that is mature beyond her years of acting experience. I believe that Jennifer Carpenter has set the bar high with her portrayal of a possessed college kid in The Possession of Emily Rose and I must say Calis has come close to that. No small feat.

Being a Supernatural (show) fan, I kind of geeked out at the scene where Clyde was holding a bible. It reminded me of his role as John Winchester in the series where he is a hunter banishing demons to hell. But that is beside the point. I was thinking the whole time that there is no greater dad to have in such a situation than a guy who played John Winchester on television. All will be well.

The Possession was bashed by critics but in my opinion, it was quite tastefully done. It sought not to become a scarefest but rather just a film telling a story and to this end, it worked. The hand coming from the mouth thing was kind of cool. I was also glad that there was no documentary/shaky cam/found footage element to this movie because with the volume of shaky cam films in cinemas right now, its getting kind of old.

All in all, a great horror/family drama, this one. It was not flashy or too dependent on the CGI. It had a great script and a steady pacing that did not bore the audience. I highly recommend it.

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