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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: ‘The Possession’ delivers quality scares

Demonic possession is a cornerstone of the horror genre. Ever since “The Exorcist” in 1973, audiences have witnessed films come and go, all promising the most ghastly account of devilish manifestation. While one may be reluctant to believe the hype, “The Possession” proves to be what it advertises — downright gore.

Director Ole Bornedal isn’t new to the horror scene, having directed “Nightwatch” in 1997. He depicts a standard horror setting, dropping viewers into a quaint American suburb where audiences witness a family’s unfortunate descent into chaos.

The story follows divorced husband and struggling father Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as he goes from bickering with his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and daughters Hannah (Madison Davenport) and Em (Natasha Calis) to trying to keep them safe. Meanwhile a demon is brooding within the youngest daughter, Em.

The pacing of the film is deliberate and well done. Bornedal ramps up the creepy factor by utilizing an ominous piano score, composed by Anton Sanko, and slick scene transitions to scare the audience mercilessly throughout the film. The terror ranges from the maddening whispers of hidden spirits to chilling scenes of demonic possession. The movie even has one truly brutal scene of dental agony.

Calis does a standout job as the demon’s host, despite some mediocre CGI. While some thrills may seem a bit cheap, relying on the surprise factor rather than technique, the majority of the frights are well crafted and genuinely creepy.

Combining a strong cast with scream-inducing frights, Bornedal creates a convincing and mature horror experience with “The Possession.”

 

Overall rating: 3 stars

An ordinary family’s life gets turned upside down when its youngest daughter becomes possessed by a deadly demon.

Steven Pirani can be reached at spirani1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @stevenpirani