The Possession (imaginative title, huh?) is based on the supposed true story of the Dybbuk Box. A wine cabinet that is said to be haunted by an evil spirit that can possess the living (a Dybbuk). It makes for an interesting story but as a film it offers nothing fresh in a sub-genre that has been hammered into the ground through excess.
The movie opens showing an elderly woman being violently attacked by something unseen after she tries to destroy an old box on her mantelpiece. Later we meet Clyde and Stephanie who are newly divorced & sharing custody of their two daughters, Emily & Hannah. The former is the focus of the film as she finds the box in a garage sale & Clyde buys it for her.
That night she hears whispering coming from the box so she opens it finding odd trinkets inside including a ring that she begins to wear.
As time passes Emily’s behaviour begins to change. She becomes withdrawn, constantly hungry & increasingly violent. She also becomes obsessed with the box refusing to let it out of her sight & getting angry when it’s taken away from her.
Clyde begins to suspect that something isn’t right with the box but his ex-wife Stephanie blames him. After Emily causes chaos at school, child services are called & they begin to attribute her problems to the divorce.
Relations between the divorced couple become more strained & Clyde takes a lot of the blame. Something that only worsens when he is suspected of having struck Emily across the face. Desperate, he begins to investigate the box & begins to realise that it may be the cause of Emily’s changing behaviour.
He travels to a Hasidic community where he meets Tzadok, a Jewish man willing to help Clyde in defeating the Dybbuk & saving Emily from becoming completely possessed by the demon.
The Possession has some great acting & very likable characters. Clyde is a struggling father trying to adapt to his ex-wife’s new relationship. His kids are good kids so when Emily’s behaviour begins to change it has a lot of impact & she does creepy very well.
It’s not a scary film because it loves it’s jump scares but it does have moments where tension is built well. It doesn’t rush, taking its time to build dark moments that don’t always lead where you might expect them too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ground-breaking stuff but it does it better than many other movies in the paranormal/supernatural sub-genre.
Where the movie really flops & flounders is with its ending, cheesy dialogue (Clyde screaming ‘take me, take’ was horrific to watch) & a terrible looking CGI creature. It’s very disappointing for a movie that made more effort with characters & subtle scares than most.
To make matters worse it couldn’t just finish with a happy ending. Instead they had to sequel bait the fuck out of it.
It would have scored much higher had it not been for the lacklustre ending & sequel bait final scene. Pity, really, as it’s a decent entry in the ghostly-goings-on sub-genre.