Director: Ole Bornedal
Writers: Juliet Snowden & Stiles White
(Based on the article “Jinx in a Box” by Leslie Gornstein)
Some creepy imagery aside the only thing that The Possession does differently than the countless other possession/exorcism movies is it is a Jewish spirit and not a catholic one. Every since The Exorcist every movie like this the same beats it hits. We have a family where typically it is the youngest daughter who gets possessed. They go to doctors, the get MRIs, until finally they see a priest, or in this case a rabbi. Apparently this is based on a true story but the truth of it must be a tremendous stretch.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a divorced father and basketball coach (for some reason. Him being a basketball coach really provides no importance to the story. Why we need to see him at practice with the team I don’t know.) He takes his daughters to a yard sale where his youngest daughter Em is taken with a wooden box. Later that night, after taking it home, she opens it and finds what seems to be a random assortment of objects. Then the house becomes infested with moths, Em starts to space out and stabs her father, she wanders in the street in the middle of the night, and when she speaks an old woman’s voice comes out.
It turns out it is a dybbuk box, which contains an evil ancient spirit. Sure, why not! Dean Morgan than meets up with Matisyahu, I don’t think he is playing himself although that would have been interesting, and he agrees to help free his daughter of the spirit.
I am sure by reading this you got the same feeling I did, been there done that. The movie is handsomely shot, much more so than a lot of Horror movies, and the tone is creepy enough, but there just isn’t anything new or different here besides the Jewish angle but even that doesn’t really come up until the end of the second act and it still just turns into a riff on The Exorcist. The cast and the director seem to be taking it seriously enough but it all just felt like a quick cash in horror flick to make cheaply and turn around for a profit without trying anything new.