Studios have a well-established tradition of using late August as a dumping ground for titles that’ve been collecting dust on the shelf for a while. Similar to how Apollo 18 rounded out the Summer 2011 movie season, this year we will be getting a little-promoted horror flick called The Possession (previously titled Dibbuk Box).
Leslie Gornstein’s 2004 LA Times article “A Jinx in a Box?” (read it here) is the inspiration for The Posession. The plot concerns a divorced couple (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) whose young daughter Hannah (Madison Davenport) begins behaving erratically after acquiring a mysterious antique box at a yard sale.
It turns out the box contains a “Dybbuk” – which, according to Yiddish folklore, is a wandering spirit who takes over the bodies of living people, rather than moving onto the next realm of existence. Hannah’s parents are forced to find a way to exorcise the sinister entity from their daughter, before it consumes her whole (literally).
Madison Davenport in 'The Possession'
Based on the trailer, The Possession appears to be a pretty conventional story about a malicious spirit taking control of an innocent girl – as scripted by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, the co-writers of the similar, PG-13 supernatural horror flick, Boogeyman. Possession likewise comes complete with the sort of macabre CGI imagery that has a “budget look” – and predictable scares that bring to mind those featured in such titles as The Unborn. (Not the best of company to keep.)
However, there is one visual included here that leaves a strong impression; no surprise, it’s the same one featured in the official promotional poster for The Possession (see below).
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To be fair, you can generally count on both Dean and Sedgwick to turn in good performances, which could help elevate The Possession a bit above its genre trappings. Similarly, the film’s director (Ole Bornedal) has picked up a handful of festival awards for his previous work on movies like Just Another Love Story and Deliver Us from Evil – hopefully, he will also deliver a competent (if generic) horror/thriller here.
One thing worth noting: a handful of the personnel connected with The Possession (producer Sam Raimi and the film’s writers) are actively involved – or have been – with the impending Poltergeist remake. Encouraging thought or unsettling omen? You decide.
The Possession opens in theaters around the U.S. on August 31st, 2012.