It feels like The Possession doesn’t take horror seriously as a genre, even though it’s produced by famed horror director Sam Raimi, and written and directed by a team already familiar with horror. It’s a movie about a haunted dybbuk box (an encapsulated demon) that preys on the innocent, in this case, a little girl, and consumes its host. So far, so good. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with this premise. There’s nothing wrong with the cast, production or design either. The problem is in the story’s execution.
We’re introduced to a box and it’s all about the here and now. Where did this box come from? What exactly happened to its past owner (well, we see her end result but not much else)? Are there other boxes like these? Why does it bring about swarms of moths? I’m not saying all of these need to be answered, but there’s not much mythology or history behind this box; we’re just told to fear it. (Further into the movie, a rabbi briefly tells us a bit more, but doesn’t delve far at all.) Making matter worse are the exorcism clichés. Some are unavoidable, but in this case, it’s excessive. As with many exorcism movies, it feels like a caricature of exorcism movies.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way about contemporary horror releases. They want a horror label to cash in on an audience looking for a scare. They treat horror like a series of cheap tricks they can string together. Furthermore, they allow mediocrity: mediocre acting, writing, production, effects, and the overall package, as if horror is not a serious enough genre to consider these things. This is why we have crappy horror movies, and, unfortunately, genuine horror fans can’t resist giving them a chance.
I’m not even going to post the trailer.