Why are movies presented by respectable directors always so lackluster? Sam Raimi for some reason "presented" The Possession, a movie that begs another question: do we really need yet another movie about a little girl being possessed by a demon?
The answer is obvious, though: as long as audiences continue to pay to see movies about little girls being possessed by demons, Hollywood will continue to make movies about little girls being possessed by demons. The Devil Inside, one of the worst movies of 2012, cost $1 million to make and earned nearly $50 million domestically. The Last Exorcism, arguably one of the more unique exorcism movies in recent years, cost $2 million and earned $40 million back in 2010. The Possession cost a still-riskless $14 million and made $50 million in the United States.
You know what you're going to get, and the studios know what they're going to get, too. It's called gravy, people. Stop forking it over.
For all its shortcomings, I didn't hate The Possession. The movie is glossy, even pretty, and with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Segwick starring, it has relatively good acting for a horror movie. It's creepy at times, with nasty Silence of the Lambs-esque moths and demon fingers crawling out of little girls' mouths and the like. It's well paced, too.
Unfortunately, it's utterly predictable because we've seen this exact same story a thousand times before. The use of a dibbuk box is interesting (the movie was originally titled The Dibbuk Box until Lionsgate realized no one knew what the hell a dibbuk box is), but ultimately The Possession follows a formula that has become commonplace among exorcism films:
- A little girl gets possessed by demon and starts asking strange
- Her parents or friends enlist an exorcist to solve the problem
- Shit flies around the room
The Possession brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Modern exorcism movies still pale in comparison to the granddaddy of them all (do I really need to name it?), so what's the point? Oh yeah, audiences keep forking over the gravy. Maybe we're the ones who are possessed.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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