All demons are a little bit scarier to me when they’re occupying children. I, like many among us, think Sam Raimi is fabulous. He produced this movie. I can’t describe it, but I felt it’s Raimi-ness while I was watching it.
The opening of the film was actually well paced and did a nice little job of being creepy. At the start of the film, we see a lady in her home, staring at a box on the living room mantel. The box is wooden and carved in Hebrew. She basically gets beat the hell up by some unseen force. It looks painful and uncomfortable. I thought it was a nice way to kick things off. Now, lets get to know our lead characters. That would be mom and dad Clyde and Stephanie who are are recently divorced. On one of dad’s weekends with the kids Em (the younger) and Hannah (the older) they stop at a garage sale. Sadly, this garage sale is at the house from the opening scene. Dad buys Em the carved box. Uh-oh, thinks the audience! For we know they’ve now purchased a yucky old demon just chilling in there waiting to take hold of someone. We see from a window that the lady survived her ordeal, but is in a full body cast. She wiggles and squirms in panic upon seeing dear little Em outside with the box. In the scenes that follow slowly but surely Em is getting filled with the spirit, and not in a good way. Scary hijinks and a little bit of death ensue. Dad uncovers the truth. He is able to enlist the help of Tzadok, a Rabbi’s son to perform the rites. The movie is a race against time to save young Emily’s life. That’s enough plot for now. I think you get what is going on here.
I had been looking forward to this movie for a while. I was intrigued for a few reasons. I was hooked in by the notion of a Jewish demon/Dibuk, by the Sam Raimi produced goodness, the fact that I like the actors in the movie (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick) and that I am always down for a good old creepy kid movie. I won’t go as far to say this movie disappoints. I can’t really articulate what about this movie made it not quite a homerun. It’s predictable. But I didn’t hate it! I sat down with my delicious movie popcorn and enjoyed the ride. I cringed and held my breath in a couple key moments. No, it didn’t “scare” me. The basic formula of this movie was just that, a formula. I am trying to not hold all horror movies accountable for needing to be the most original thing ever. But, I do want to be entertained and creeped out when I see a horror movie. That is my goal above all.
Yes, this movie is very Hollywood. I never claimed to be a purist that only watched independently made horror. I know this movie also got both praised and criticized for being based on actual events. Since seeing the movie, I have watched and read some articles on the whole thing. I can’t say if it’s real or not, but it sounds pretty freaky. I admit I am not an expert on demons. Jewish, Catholic or otherwise. So I can’t really claim to know if anything they present about the Dibuk is accurate. I’m sure I liked this movie more because I’m not a know-it-owl on the original case and demons in general. I don’t mind going on record saying The Possession was far from the worst horror movie I saw this year.