Sunday, March 1, 2015

I'm Back

Well, I'm back. It's been nearly three years since I last posted to this blog, and I have a lot of catching up to do. For example, in 2012, shortly after my last post, a movie called The Possession came out, and I've only just seen it. I had grown tired of possession movies after seeing The Last Exorcism, so I had low expectations for this one. It was derivative, of course, rehashing all the moments that were done better in 1973's The Exorcist--the possessed little girl writhing, suffering from ugly makeup, performing feats of telekinesis. But The Possession had its moments, starting with a weird box the little girl, Emily (Natasha Calis), bought at a  yard sale. The box turns out to contain a demon, and, as a twist, it's a Jewish demon, a dybbuk, requiring a Jewish person to perform the exorcism in the movie's final act. Another twist: in the middle of the usual sequence in which medical science tries futilely to figure out what is wrong with the child, the doctors carry out an MRI, and they are astonished when they see this:

Yes, that is the demon in the left half of the image. You never saw that in The Exorcist. In fact, you get a good clear view of the demon crawling around a physical therapy room during the exorcism. In The Exorcist you see a statue of the demon, but that's all.

As in The Exorcist, the parents of the little girl are divorced, but in The Exorcist you never saw the father; the mother, Ellen Burstyn, has to save the girl on her own. This time it's the father, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who does more of the saving. Emily procures the wicked box while she is on her father's watch one weekend, and I suppose he feels responsible. The ex-wife, Kyra Sedgwick, is mainly fixated on blaming her ex and spending time with her boyfriend, until the dybbuk does a nice job of scaring away (or possibly killing) the boyfriend. In another interesting twist, the exorcism brings the family together, including a sister who has been mostly ignored while all the attention is given to the possessed girl. Now that Emily is safe again it is not outside the realm of possibility to think that Morgan and Sedgwick will remarry.

All things considered, The Possession was pretty good, dependent on its predecessors but with enough twists to keep my interest. Also, it fits well into my deformed-destructive theory of horror movies, spelled out at length in my book Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films. The demon is a deformed spirit, malevolent and rebellious against God, and physically repulsive when you get a look at it. And its deformity causes its destructiveness, which is revived at the end in a frisson involving a big motor vehicle crash and the box. People who love horror movies love a good deformed and destructive being, and this is served up in The Possession.

George Ochoa

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