The July heat is surely putting the Hell in hello. Greetings my precious gravediggers and undertakers, and welcome to another glorious gory entry into the Macabre Movie Mausoleum. Today we look at The Jewish Exorcist. You can begin the comparisons with the monotone poster featuring a single figure standing in the solo light source. But if that wasn’t enough of a coincidence wait until you see the rest.
“The Possession” (2012)
Director: Ole Bornedal
Starring: Jeffery Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, and Natasha Calis
The Possession was part of the new wave of horror movies that had been coming out in the early 2010’s, and unfortunately it feels all too familiar. There are two major things all of those movies seem to have in common. First, haunted/possessed/creepy/evil kids (which is something Hollywood ripped off of Asian movies, who do it so much better). It’s as if they think the movie is supposed to instantly be scarier because it involves kids. If you really want to scare me with kids, show what they’re really like when their parents are tired but they’ve just woken from a nap. Now THAT’S scary! But I digress. Second is broken, or breaking, families. Every single one of these horror movies from that time centers on a family with a husband and wife on the verge of divorce or already split.
The Possession is no different on either account. Watching the trailers, you know it revolves around a girl being possessed of something that escapes a box. Most of her initial behavior is excused because of the parents' divorce which took place 3 months ago after having already been separated for 6 months. (So, during those previous 9 months she had no ill effects?) The lack of response by her parents bothers me. I could only imagine the reaction from people who actually have kids. It isn't until her teacher gets involved that her parents really take a look at the situation.
The father, Jeffery Dean Morgan (the major reason for me wanting to see the movie), takes the box to see some local professor that knows about Jewish demons and possessions, who then puts Papa Winchester, I’m sorry, Jeffery Dean Morgan in contact with a young rabbi of some secret religious sect that exorcises demons. I know a common complaint I have is too much exposition, but it would have been smart to give a little more information about these rabbis.
The moments of 'horror' come from cheap shots where they target the eyes or inside of the mouth of a character, which is more squeamish than anything else. Speaking of, the best moment of the movie was unapologetically ruined in the trailer, the scene where the little girl finds fingers crawling up her mouth from within. Another great image was during an MRI scene, and was partially spoiled in the trailer (with that being said you may want to be weary of the embedded trailer at the bottom.) but this specific scene wasn’t completely shown in the trailer, and is one of the better pieces of the movie.
On a side note, as this has nothing to do with my opinion of the movie, I don't like Kyra Sedgwick who plays the mother.
On to the rating...
I really wanted to like this movie, which may be why I'm being so harsh on it, but Jeffery Dean Morgan is a better actor than this movie showed, and it had a somewhat original spin to it by basing it off of Jewish folklore (and not including the Golem). Unfortunately, it relied too heavily on the tired troupes of the genre, and took what could have been a good horror movie into your standard fare.
For more from this author, check out his site, AzarRising