“Halloween Twenty-Fifteen”: A Review of “The Possession” (2012)

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This film is based on the now viral story of the Dybbuk Box. Whether you believe it or not, the real story goes that there is a wooden wine box that was used to trap a Hebrew demon back in the 1930’s. The box has since traveled the globe through different owners, causing havoc wherever it goes. Strange sounds and smells emanate from it, usually causing the owners to sell the object or try to get rid of it. The word “Dybbuk” or “Dibbuk” is Hebrew for a lost soul that can possess someone’s body. It can be loosely termed “demonic”. Last year, the box was profiled on H2’s Haunted History. The Possession bears the “Based on a True Story” moniker in the opening credits, however the movie bears little resemblance to the alleged real story, not that I am surprised.

It all begins with an old woman who owns the box, and she hears whispers coming out of it. While investigating, she is attacked by an unseen force which throws her around the room like a bouncy ball and causes her to go mad. The box changes hands via a yard sale, when purchased by an impressionable little girl (Natasha Calis). She becomes obsessed with the alluring box, which does not seem to want to open. Her parents (Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the main characters, are recently divorced, and her behavior starts to change for the worst. Is it the result of a shock to her lifestyle, or is there something demonic behind the box which she was finally able to open? The premise and entire story is nothing we have not seen before. Neither are the “scares” such as hordes of insects and contortionist movements in the possessed character. There are only a couple of changes: the attacking force lives in this box in its spare time, the exorcism at the end is conducted by a Jewish rabbi, and the demon itself speaks Polish instead of Latin.

Where The Possession truly differs from the cavalcade of demon-themed films to erupt of late is the actual quality of production. The acting is the strong-point and the special effects are minimal. However, the one standout that really makes this movie is the music by Anton Sanko. It is intense, heavy, and dark, and helps to reinforce various scenes, especially the final exorcism which would have been ridiculous and comical otherwise. The movie will not scare the daylights out of you, but it is creepy and goes that slightly different route as mentioned previously. You might even enjoy it. Also starring Madison Davenport, Grant Show, and Matisyahu. Directed by Ole Bornedal.

6 out of 10 stars.

More articles in this special “Halloween Twenty-Fifteen” column can be found here.

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