Film: "The Possession"; Director: Ole Bornedal; Actors: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick; Rating: **
A horror film, depending on the creativity of the director, can either become a delightful or dreadful watch with the dread coming from the horrific cliches the film panders to.
Sadly, despite its tag of 'based on a true story', there's nothing new or really interesting that "The Possession" brings to the genre as it walks the well-trodden path of exorcism cinema, not once daring to step a little aside, thus robbing audiences of an experience that could have been delightful.
Emily (Natasha Calis), a little girl, inadvertently picks up an ancient box and opens it, not realizing that it is possessed. Soon, the demon takes over her as the cute little girl begins turning into an uncontrollable monster.
Exorcism movies are usually about Christian exorcism. The only thing different about this film is that it is about Jewish exorcism. Besides this and some Hebrew language thrown in, it has nothing that you have not seen before, no creeps that are surprising enough to thrill you.
Even when we talk of the story, there's very less attention to detail as tracks that have been opened up, like the one of the mother's boyfriend, are left without any conclusion and many broken teeth.
What the film thus becomes, is merely a collection of supposed horror scenes. Yet, the rattling of the wind, the invisible entity throwing a full grown person around, telekinesis, the terror of those around and the demon literally growing inside have all been done to death before.
Despite these, it is still a satisfying ensemble of cliches as some of the elements are indeed taken care of. The lighting is good, and the creation of the mood and mise-en-scene is decent enough to make one feel creepy even when one knows what is coming.
What would have indeed lifted the film notches ahead of where it stands right now, is some well thought out writing and better story when it comes to the devil growing inside the child.
Also if the devil is shown to be telekinetic, there are so many terrifying situations that the writers could have thought about and situated in the universe of the film. The music too is loud at key moments, as if the makers are desperate enough to try and force a chill up your spine.
Better references to Judaism and their culture would also have given an added dimension to the film.