Thursday, August 1, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: The Possession

2012, Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch) -- download

Originally called Dibbuk Box this movie is a respectable example of a possession movie, but twists the spine by being a Jewish demon instead of a Christian one. Considering they are supposed to be sourced from the same god, you would not think demons would care which worshippers believed in them. A dibbuk box is actually not an old Jewish legend but something quite recent, a "wine box" being sold on Ebay and garnering a legend for being haunted by an evil spirit, a dibbuk. I cannot find any information about what a wine box is but that could just be the internet not being interested in non-urban legend material. But still, the movie just has to bill itself as a "true story".

In The Possession a young girl buys a creepy old box from a guy at a garage sale and proceeds to get weirder and weirder the longer she owns it. Her divorced dad, the typical jerk of a dad somewhat oblivious to the needs of his daughters has purchased a big empty suburban house because the girls cannot continue to stay with him in a ratty apartment. But quickly on he realizes his daughter has an unhealthy attachment to the box and brings it to a Jewish scholar to translate the characters. Throwing caution to the wind, he tries to separate her from the box and ends up eliciting the help of a group of Orthodox Jews from "the city", including the rapper Matisyahu.

What raises this a step above all the other possession movies is the well hinged characterization in play. We believe in the characters. When Jeffrey Dean Morgan throws himself into the belief that his daughter is being influenced by a nasty spirit, we believe he will do anything to help her. Even during the Exorcist scene of blowing winds and people shouting at the demonic force, his caring is palpable.  I admit, I kept on grinning and wondering when Sam and Dean would show up (he played the father on the monster hunter TV show, Supernatural) he was still pretty damn good here.