People have different kinds of Sunday rituals like going to church, or watching football. There are also those who like to drive around the neighborhood looking for garage sales. They might be searching for something specific, such as clothing, or books. Maybe they get lucky and find hidden treasure. And then there are those who unfortunately find boxes that end up containing something purely evil.
Recently divorced, Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and Stephanie (Kyra Sedgewick) are sharing custody of their two young daughters, Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport). It’s Clyde’s turn to have the girls, and he surprises the girls by taking them to a new home he has just purchased. The girls realize this about ends any hope of their parents getting back together. The next day they head out, and Em tells her dad to stop at a garage sale to pick up some stuff for the new home. Em stubbles upon an unusual box with no clue what lies in store for her. Soon enough Em starts acting strangely. Dad thinks it’s because of the divorce, but it’s something far worse than that.
Lets start off by saying “The Possession” is better than another exorcism movie “The Devil Inside,” which premiered earlier this year. Two big reasons this movie is better are it provides better attempts to freak out the audience, and it keeps the story moving. In some exorcism movies, a lot of the focus on the possessed person is making them bend and twist in unnatural ways. While there is some of that in this movie, they add a sense that the spirit is physically in Em at times, and is trying to get out. They do an especially good job manipulating Em’s face, and eyes in certain scenes.
There are two scenes that particularly stand out. Audiences might have caught a glimpse of the first one in the trailers, as they see Em stand in front of her bathroom mirror. Obviously something freaky is going to happen, and it does. What helps this scene work is how they set it up with another scene prior to it. It kind of gives the audience a certain expectation, but something a little different comes up. The other scene is when Stephanie takes Em to the hospital, and doctors decide to do an MRI on her. MRI’s are scary enough without adding a young possessed girl. This scene is a good example of the intensity they create as they lead the audience into the scare.
As previously mentioned, this story moves right along. It starts off with a bang, and then audiences get a brief look at where this family is at the present time. Once Em gets the box, it becomes a series of set ups for scares without much wasted dialogue. While it’s set at a good pace, there might be one or two places that need a little more explaining. Maybe those scenes were edited, but it almost seems like the audience misses something. There are also some small details they ignore, such as when the mother hurts her feet but apparently is a quick healer. The ending might be predictable, but it shouldn’t leave the same sour taste in your mouth as “The Devil Inside” does.
The acting isn’t terrible, but there are some scenes that feel like they didn’t quite nail it. For example, there is a scene where Clyde pleads to these priests to help him save his daughter. Jeffrey is trying to be as emotional as he can, but that is the problem. The audience can see him trying instead of it being more natural. Kyra is all right, but it’s hard to judge her because more of the focus is on Jeffrey’s character. Natasha does well with her expressions, and becomes a scary enough little girl. They don’t really overwhelm her with a lot of lines to master.
For those who like to buy weird stuff at garage sales, “The Possession” might make you think twice about it. It might not scare audiences out of their seats, but it does have a fair share of freaky scenes. While the story moves along quickly, it does overlook some small details, and may even need a bit more explanation. No one steals the show, but the acting is good enough. If anything, it proves to be a better exorcism movie than “The Devil Inside,” so I give it 2.5 pools of blood.