From first glance at the poster for “The Possession,” my brain only goes in one direction, and that is directly to “The Exorcist.” It’s an automatic turn off, as I don’t like copy-cat films.
Ah, but then I remember, most horror films in some sort of plight, can all be traced back to one horror film or another. Re-direct brain to other variables, such as cast, plot, rating, etc., and I must remind myself that I am an avid horror freak. Switch focus to the trailer, and I must admit, I got a little creeped out. Possession stories and such tend to give me the creepy heebie jeebies, especially those that boast that they are based on a true story.
All possession stories start with a portal by which a spirit, or demon as it were, makes its way from its domain into the body of a human. In a lot of cases, that human happens to be a child. In “The Possession,” that portal is a box that is picked up at a yard sale. And that human is in fact a child. Insert creepy factor here. Once that box is opened, a la Pandora’s very own, all hell breaks lose. Something takes over a little girl and, of course, affects everybody in her life.
After watching the trailer and seeing and hearing that this film was based on a true story, I had no other choice but to investigate the matter further. I found some very interesting stories revolving around a wine cabinet that was sold at an estate sale and has since been sold on eBay as all of its owners claim bad things happened to them whilst the cabinet was in their possession (no pun intended … well, maybe a little pun) and they just wanted to be rid of it. The box, or wine cabinet, has come to be known as the dibbuk or dybbuk box, stemming from Jewish folklore. Dybbuk is a yiddish word meaning a malicious or malevolent possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. After one gentleman purchased the box at an estate sale, he soon listed it on eBay with a description of his encounter with the object. His post quickly went viral and people were contacting him so rapidly that he had to not only change his phone number and email address, he decided to start a website specifically for any inquiries about the box. His website, www.dibbukbox.com, is still active and I’m sure getting flooded as the movie based on his finding is soon to be released, not to mention there are several books available regarding the subject matter.
As with anything that has gone viral this day and age, there are true believers as well as many, many skeptics who are calling BS on the whole thing. I land somewhere in the middle. I don’t necessarily believe, but am afraid that by denying its potential existence, some sort of Yiddish monster will come kick my ass for disregarding it. I choose to believe that the people who came in contact with the haunted box believe that something paranormal came into their lives. I choose to believe that I have never had such an encounter so I can neither confirm nor deny any relevant findings. I have never had an encounter with a million dollars and can only go by word of mouth that such a thing exists, and so I continue buying lottery tickets, I consider it investigative reporting. The one thing that is certain is that because of all the speculation and virility of the story, I am really sort of excited to see what the film does as far as taking an allegedly true story of this nature and adding that flair of fiction that makes horror movies one of my favorite genres.
Casting can somewhat make or break a film before it’s even released. For me, to see that Kyra Sedgwick is one of the stars of “The Possession” is a total plus. I think she is a phenomenal actor and I think she can give depth to her character, “the mom,” which could otherwise be played very two dimensional. A mother trying to banish a demon from her child … come on, so many people would play to the melodrama, but I have a good strong feeling that Sedgwick will bring layers. I hate to keep comparing this film to the king of all possession films, “The Exorcist,” but for me one of the best parts of that film was Ellen Burstyn’s performance. She played the mom role so well and I think Sedgwick will follow down that same path.
“The Posession” is a story about a possessed little girl, so naturally I am concerned with the child actor who will sit front and center. Fifteen-year-old Madison Davenport has been assigned the task of carrying this movie, and looking at her credentials, I think she is up to it. She has been on TV shows such as “ER,” “House” and “Numb3rs.” Her film credits include “Ponyo,” “Over The Hedge” and “Humboldt County.”
Originally granted an MPAA rating of R, “The Posession” appealed and got lowered to a PG-13. I realize that a film wants to get an audience in the seats to see it and thereby make it more accessible to the masses, but I hate when horror movies are granted a PG-13 rating, especially possession films. This automatically lowers not only the blood and guts factor, but the scary factor. I not only want to see and hear scary, I want to see and hear scary unedited and uninhibited. Lets face it, more than a few F-bombs might ensue in reality should someone you know be possessed by a demon.
I fully intend to see this film in theaters, as big noise and big imagery might be key in upping the other wise toned down scare moments. There are a few factors leaning me towards the side of not having too much to look forward to in “The Possession,” but on the other side of the fence, my horror addiction simply can’t resist being excited for this one. If it’s good, then I will be content, if it’s not, well, I have become quite adept to let-downs in horror, it will be another one that I will brush off.
“The Possession” is schedule to hit theaters Aug. 31.
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