(sfx.co.uk.com) There’s nothing especially wrong with The Possession – it’s slick, glossy, pacey, and occasionally funny, with some impressive effects. The problem is that there’s barely a trick or a trope that hasn’t been done (better) elsewhere, from The Exorcist to The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and The Last Exorcism.
This time it’s nine-year-old Em (Natasha Calis) who’s taken over by an evil force when she opens an old wooden box bought from a yard sale, much to the dismay of her divorced parents and big sister Hannah. The casket is a dibbuk box – a Jewish vessel used to trap a demon intent on consuming the young and innocent. Em wanders around in a nightdress, develops big bags under her eyes, pukes moths, puts on a funny voice and stabs her dad with a fork. Her parents don’t believe she’s possessed, do believe she’s possessed, find a rabbi, do an exorcism… and so on.
Performances are strong and jumps are frequent, if predictable and accompanied by crashing music. It’s all entirely acceptable, but depressingly unambitious.