DVD Review: The Possession

The Possession, 2012 - image courtesy of LIONSGATE

Something wicked to see here? Nope.

Ole Bornedal‘s The Possession features a demonic possession of Jewish background rather than the familiar use of Catholicism demonic possession. Sam Raimi did not direct the film, but he is the producer of the mediocre horror. Because of his experience with the Evil Dead series, the first expectations of The Possession were moderate. Sadly, this proved to be unfounded as the film overrides what good creepy atmosphere it had with below average acting (overacting in some scenes) and sudden transitions between events.

Natasha Calis stars as Emily Brenek–otherwise known as “Em”–a young girl who becomes fascinated with an unusual wooden box at a yard sale. Her father, recent divorcee Clyde Brenek (Jeffry Dean Morgan), purchases the box for Em and realizes she has a magnetic attraction to the box. Over time, her behavior rapidly changes, and she begins to resemble something else entirely. Rabbis must be brought into the picture as Clyde discovers the box contains a dybbuk, a demonic spirit from Jewish folklore. He has to expel this spirit in order to free his daughter and save his family.

This really could have been a better film than it turned out to be; the atmosphere was perfect and the first demonstrations of the spirit’s power were impressive and were a little shocking. However, this was uprooted by the film attempting to over stress at certain points that the audience should be afraid, and it comes across as a little silly. The chemistry between Clyde and his children is good (it is established he cares for them and supports them during the divorce period), but the relationship between him and his ex-wife isn’t completely over and the two reconcile their differences in order to save their child.

Rapper Matisyahu‘s appearance in The Possession was nice overall, complete with solid acting skills, but his presiding over the exorcising ceremony was nothing short of comical when paired with the on and off pattern of the lights and bland special effects. The Possession tries too hard and despite some positive cinematic attributes.

Mr. Morgan,  you should have just called Supernatural’s Sam and Dean to help you out.


Special features of The Possession include:

  • Audio commentary with director Ole Bornedal
  • Audio commentary with writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White
  • The Real History of the Dibbuk Box Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

The most interesting special feature is, unsurprisingly, the one concerning the dybbuk box. The featurette delves into the previous owners and current owner of the box and the items contained in the box. The box in the film is far more creepier than the original, but it is great to find out the history of the box and where the film plot originates from. The Possession DVD also comes with an iTunes digital copy and Ultraviolet streaming capabilities.

Artwork and supplementary materials courtesy of © 2013 Lionsgate Home Entertainment. All rights reserved. 

The Possession
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 2 stars
  • Poor

  • The Possession
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2016-08-31

Review Summary:

In Ole Bornedal's THE POSSESSION, a young girl Em (Calis) becomes obsessed with an antique wooden box only to discover that the box contains a wicked spirit.

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