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Natasha Calis in "The Possession"; photo courtesy of Lionsgate

“The Possession” (Lionsgate)

As a general rule horror movies are not my thing. There is usually too much blood and gore and “gotcha” scenes. Call me a coward but I don’t find being scared to death entertaining. I do, however, like movies that have suspense and chills if they are presented in a strong storyline and the roles are well acted. “The Exorcist” set the standard for this type of fare and it hasn’t been met or even approached during the past few years.

“The Possession” aims for that bar and though it doesn’t totally meet it the film does thoroughly entertain. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwicke are proven strong actors and play the roles of the parents, Clyde and Stephanie with conviction. However, it is the young actors who play the daughters who steal the show. Madison Davenport is disdainful and smug as older sister Hannah, while Natasha Calis is vulnerable and heart breaking as Emily.

The plot of the movie revolves around a box Emily discovers at a yard sale. She, Hannah and their father go to the sale to get Clyde some dishes. He needs some because he and Stephanie are getting divorced and he is living in a new house. She sees the box and becomes fascinated by it. Clyde lets her buy it and bring it home.

Once Emily owns the box strange things start to happen. Her personality changes and she begins to cause problems. It is Clyde who first realizes she might be possessed, and he begins to take actions to rid her of the demon inside her. All of this is shown in the trailer for the film so I am not giving away key plot issues.

The film claims the storyline is based on a true story. This gives added chills to the movie and makes everything that occurs in the film more fearful. It is bad enough to watch the events unfold as a fictional piece, but having some basis in truth piles on the shivers.

The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.

Because of the “validity” of the story, and the excellent acting by Calis as the girl possessed, “The Possession” rises above the format of cheap thriller. The other actors, including Matisyahu as the exorcist, provide strong support for her and create a level of entertainment that has not been present in other horror/thrillers in quite some time.

I scored “The Possession” a demonic 7 out of 10.



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