Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Possesion (2012)

When I first heard the story of the “Dybbuk Box”, I have to admit I thought it was a pretty cool and creepy story. When I heard that Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert where going to produce a movie based on the story I thought, “oh great another crappy effort from Raimi”. Ya know after Evil Dead, Raimi’s films have been extremely hit and miss. For me, and this may sound very odd, my favorite film of his post Evil Dead is For the Love of the Game (1999). I have never been a big fan of Evil Dead 2(1987), Army of Darkness (1992) or Drag Me To Hell (2009) just to name a few. I did enjoy Darkman (1990) though. So going into the Possession I had my doubts. Those doubts however were soon put to rest after viewing this tale of demon possession….and that might be because Raimi only helped to produce it instead of direct.

The movie opens with an elderly woman trying to take a hammer to old wooden box but an unseen force attacks her. So right off the bat we know something just aint right with this thing. Enter in the Brenek family who are going through a divorce. Clyde (Jeffery Dean Morgan), the father, takes his two daughters, Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport) to a yard sale where Em discovers the box for sale. Em cannot seem to figure out how to open the box at first but that night she hears a voice whisper from inside. She finds a hidden latch and opens the box in which she finds a dead moth, a tooth and an old ring. She places the ring on her finger and thus begins her trip down nightmare lane.

The box....a place to stash yer weeeeed.
Em begins to become very possessive over the box and her demeanor begins to change drastically. Her appearance even begins to change and she does indeed look like evil young girl. Odd occurrences begin to happen at the house as well including a swarm of moths in Em’s room. When Em tells her father about the person who lives in the box, he begins to worry and decides to get rid of the box. Em becomes frantic and an unseen force attacks her and she flees the house in search of the box. When she finds the box it opens by itself and a swarm of mouths emit from the box and into Em’s mouth. A very effectively shot scene and very well acted by Calis. This event seems to signal the total possession of Em’s body by the Dybbuk. 
I feel pretty...oh so pretty...

Clyde is able to take the box to a professor at the university that he coaches at. Here he discovers just what the box is and what it was used for. The box is used to contain a spirit that may be dislocated or to house an ancient evil or demon. Clyde decides to perform his own form of spiritual cleansing by sneaking into Em’s room at his ex wife’s house. He reads from a Torah and as Em stares at him blankly and the unseen Dybbuk lashes out, sending the Torah flying across the room. Knowing he has not the knowledge to combat whatever is inside his daughter, Clyde takes the box to a Jewish community and seeks out a Holy Man, Tzadok (Matisyahu) for help. Tzadok tells Clyde that a holy ritual is needed to be performed to force the Dybbuk out of his daughter and back into the box. The Dybbuk only wants one thing, that which it does not have, life. 

Axl Rose impression?
Em’s mother Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) takes Em to the hospital after she has a seizure at the house. The doctors perform an MRI to discover what might be causing her seizure. During the MRI, Stephanie notices something strange in the live images of the inside of her daughter. It soon becomes clear to her that there is something inside Em’s body. In what is probably the most chilling part of the film, the skeletal image of another being is seen inside Em, it turns it’s head and locks eyes with Stephanie. She knows her daughter is possessed by something.

Clyde and Tzadok come to the hospital and take Em to an empty rehabilitation room so that the ritual can be performed. While the ritual is performed the Dybbuk takes total control over Em’s body and fights viciously. Clyde continues to tell the spirit to come into him. When the ritual seems to be over, Em is back to normal. Tzadok knows something isn’t quite right and begins to call out the demon’s name. The spirit had left Em but entered Clyde and now in a weakened state begins to psychically crawl out of Clyde’s body through his mouth and back into the box. 
OOUCH!! Clip yer toenails!!

As the movie closes Tzadok has possession of the box and is taking to somewhere safe but his car is struck by a tractor trailer and the box is hurled from the car. The final shot is of the wreckage and the box sitting by itself…..waiting to be picked up by someone.

I have to give credit to director Ole Bornedal for delivering a very serious toned film. His use of sound is what really drives it. The soundtrack is very simplistic but so effective. Nothing is
played for laughs in this film unlike Sam Raimi’s possession type film Drag Me To Hell which teetered on the edge of seriousness and slapstick. I think this is why the film works. Bornedal gives us some characters to like, to identify with. We see the pain and difficulty Clyde’s daughters have to deal with as their parents enter into a new era of their lives being a divorced couple. I would have liked to have seen a little more on the subject of Jewish mysticism though. I like the fact that the film didn’t rely heavily on special effects. The moth swarm I can understand using CGI and it was well done. The short glimpse of the Dybbuk itself were well done as well and you see enough to get creeped out. Sometimes these types of films have too many shots of CGI demons and the like which ruins the creepiness. Less that is seen, the more impact to be made on the viewer. I also think the acting was top notch especially from the two young stars Calis and Davenport. They both conveyed their emotions realistically and in ways that you can identify with. Calis’s switch between Em and the Dybbuk are simply incredible and realistic.

Of course after viewing the movie one has to look up via the web, the Dybbuk box. I whole heartedly encourage you do so. It’s a great little story whether it is true or not. And for some laughs go to ebay and type it in. Did you know that there are plenty of these boxes to be had? Some upwards to $200 in price! If you buy one let me know what happens after you open it!

No comments:

Post a Comment