The Possession Review
I looked up the true story that this was based off of, which was interesting but had nothing to do with possession, except for the fact that some people obviously possessed the box. Some spooky things did happen in real life to suggest a frightening spirit, but they were a bit more subtle. That's exactly what I figured. At the beginning, captions against a black screen play up the real life backdrop and I have to chuckle. That's could mean anything. They should have been more specific and just told the whole backstory strait up and then went on with their inspired tale.
Anyway, I went to see this on my own instead of Lawless with my friends, which they all gave a very bad review (something about a lot of pointless swearing, nudity, and violence that wasn't even played well). I didn't regret it. In all of Western Iowa Tech there is exactly one pretty girl and I ended up sitting next to her. She never grabbed on to my arm, but it was still worth it. At least we had a conversation during the credits. Her gal friend grabbed on to her, however, and someone in front of me got up and left.
Some people did get afraid. I was never affected by the movie, but maybe seeing Alien when I was eight did something to me. It had more potential to scare than a simple thriller, since supernatural horror elements target the irrational side of rational survival instincts. The film can only succeed so much by building up suspense for shocking reveals, so it relies more on the spook factor. Hopefully someone gets freaked out by simple everyday objects after watching the movie. I doubt it: the titular dibbuk box was given an extreme presentation that made it feel less real. Nobody would be disturbed at all if it wasn't for the ambiguous "based on a true story" opening card.
Now as far as other aspects go, the characters were fine and real, by no means memorable but at least humanized before the horror and set at a safe distance from cardboard stand-ins. The father and mother are divorced, and the director seemed just as interested in exploring the relationships within the family as he was in scaring the audience. In fact, an interview confirms this. Again, the characters aren't memorable, but their realism was enough to enhance the horror aspects of The Possession.
Unfortunately, the movie is little more than an extended version of the trailer. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the high points of the film. As such, I can't really recommend that anyone watches it. It was entertainment for the moment, probably the best movie out this week, and it kept me amused for its duration. Judging by the college students who got up and left during the movie, there are some people who will legitimately get frightened. The people I think would most benefit from watching this movie would be guys with clingy girlfriends. Either that or you're like me and you're looking for an excuse to dust off your rarely used Hasidic Jew outfit.