The Possession

The Possession

In which Kevin Moreau and Jon Black review the trailer for The Possession.

JON

Here we have the trailer for The Possession, in which an innocent young girl is apparently, well, possessed by a dybbuk. I had to look that one up–apparently it’s an ancient Hebrew word meaning, “Yet another remake of The Exorcist except with a rabbi instead of a priest and a mysterious Hellraiser puzzle box thrown in because that’s creepy, right?”

Perhaps I am a bit jaded, having seen over 430 million horror movies as a teenager (there wasn’t much to do in rural South Carolina), or maybe it was watching the (very enjoyable) Cabin in the Woods at the drive-in a few weeks ago. But I can’t help but think that mixing together a couple horror movie stereotypes does NOT yield an original idea. “Yeah, this movie is about a werewolf that escaped from a mental hospital and also the werewolf has knives for fingers and also it turns out that the werewolf is already dead!”

It’s been decades since Hollywood had any stomach for taking chances on original concepts; profit margins are better served by remakes and virtual remakes and Michael Bay abominations based on items from the Toys-R-Us catalog circa Christmas 1987. Having said that, and despite the standard “scary” tropes in the trailer, I thinkThe Possession has some promise. The idea of something physically growing inside the girl is somewhat novel, although the image of a troubled tween alone in the bathroom with two fingers in her throat says “bulimia” more than “demonic possession.”

KEVIN

But Jon, you’re missing the most important part of this movie: It’s based on a true story! And while I must have missed all the news stories about a little girl who had a demon hand crawling out of her mouth, we can trust that it’s true, because it says so right here in the trailer. And as we all know, trailers never lie. Well, except for the way they make most movies look way better than they really are. And the way they use music that isn’t even in the film.  Okay, so trailers aren’t to be trusted under any circumstances. Especially this one, which had me jonesing to see Oscar winner Javier Bardem fighting a dybbuk. Except it’s not Javier Bardem at all, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan, of SupernaturalWatchmen and Grey’s Anatomy fame. Dashing and talented as he is, I think we can all agree that Mr. Morgan is a poor man’s Javier Bardem. For one Javier Bardem, you could buy a six-pack of Jeffrey Dean Morgans, send them out to pick up your dry cleaning, and still have enough money left over to buy all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. Not sure why you’d want to do that, but money causes people to do strange things.

Like buy tickets to The Possession, which appears to be far scarier than the trailer would have you believe. Damn trailer! (Shakes fist.) I mean, this poor girl not only has Not Javier Bardem for a father—her mom is Kyra Sedgwick! From The Closer! Now, that’s scary. Show of hands: Who among us hasn’t wanted to vomit up a demon every time Mom uses her over-the-top Southern drawl to torture some C-List TV actor into confessing? (Looks around.) No one? Just me, then.

JON

I too was initially excited/confused to see Javier Bardem in this B-grade horror flick, only to be disappointed/relieved when I realized it was actually…that guy you said. (Not only was I too lazy to research who the actor actually was, I am too lazy to copy his name from your response.) But if you think about it, OF COURSE we won’t get to see Oscar winner Javier Bardem fighting a dybbuk. Javier could take out a Jewish demon infesting his daughter’s gullet with one shot from his cattle gun, whereas Not Javier will presumably resort to ineffectual TV-doctor stuff like operating or sexing up a colleague. (Hopefully not sexing up Kyra Sedgwick. That’s Kevin Bacon’s job. And now we all must try to excorcize that mental image.)

As for the movie being scarier than the trailer, how is that even possible? The trailer features such soul-searing terrors as…moths! Misdemeanor assault with a fork! And a yard sale! Surely theaters showing this trailer will be required to have trained medical personnel standing by to aid fainting patrons, a la The Tingler.

But backing up for a second, I feel the need to point out that Little Miss Throat Fingers obtains the mysterious, malevolent, very-very-bad box of pure evil AT A YARD SALE.

This must be the part based on a true story, for there really are yard sales in this world, and people try to peddle some scary stuff. I personally have never come across any dybbuk carriers, but I did once see someone trying to sell a used toilet seat. One of those squishy padded ones. And the vinyl was all cracked, exposing the absorbent padding material inside...the horror, the horror.

KEVIN

That is pretty damn scary.

Based on what we see here, I’d say producer Sam Raimi probably bought the script for this movie at the same yard sale. On the other hand, I’m betting he got the talented and handsome Mr. Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the black market. One Javier Bardem doesn’t buy as many Jeffrey Dean Morgans as it used to. Mr. Bardem’s home country of Spain still uses the Euro, for crying out loud.

All due respect to Mr. Raimi, but I thought his last movie to feature an evil creature taking over a helpless female was much scarier. I’m speaking, of course, of Spider-Man 3, which gave us the horrific vision of the Venom symbiote turning Tobey Maguire into a tormented emo kid. The kind of pseudo-Goth who was always luckier with the ladies in high school than me, because there’s no shortage of judgment-impaired teen girls looking for a guy who’s dark and brooding but also cuddly as a basket of puppies. You know, the kind of chick who buys demons at yard sales and stabs a badass actor like frigging Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the hand. And then gets knocked up by Tortured Venom Tobey. I’d be much more frightened of that offspring crawling out of a little girl’s mouth, I don’t mind telling you—like something out of a Lifetime movie on the dangers of tween pregnancy.

Oh, and you want to talk horror? That tall, creepy-looking guy, the one who looks like Jaws from the Roger Moore-era James Bond movies went to rabbinical school and has handlebars sticking out from either side of his head? That’s Hassidic reggae rap-rocking sensation Matisyahu, dude. Turns out, not only can he drop mad Hebrew science over a slamming beat, he’s also an expert on obscure Jewish demons that live in boxes and, once freed, immediately start making a new home in some pre-teen girl’s womb. He probably explains all that to (say it with me) Jeffrey Dean Morgan against a rocking reggae groove, just before exhorting him to wave his hands in the air, and to wave ’em like he just don’t care. And then he drops the mic, because he’s out, y’all. Peace.