Lionsgate Film ‘The Possession’ Utilizes Kyra Sedgwick’s Charisma To Save The Soul Of This Film, Highlight Hollywood News
Once a Catholic Priest told me, “The Exorcist” was a slap in the face toward the Roman Catholic Church. It was a scary film, no agenda, please! But “The Possession” will make him happy, because it is a Jewish twist on that classic film, and it recounts in shocking detail torments of a nice suburban American family, that becomes overcome by an evil spirit (“dybbuk” in Yiddish). Actually, the dybbuk is the second malevolent force to attack Clyde and Stephanie (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) and their two daughters. The first was a family tragedy, many of us know too well in America; divorce.
Clyde is a basketball coach who tends to lose track of time when he’s at practice, and he also has been banished for being inattentive. Though he does dote on 10-year-old Em (Natasha Calis) and 13-ish Hannah (Madison Davenport) whenever he has visitation. One day he makes a fateful decision to stop at a yard sale the two girls want to visit, and doesn’t argue when Em insists on buying a dark wooden box inscribed with Hebrew letters. I never buy anything I cannot read or decipher, but Clyde does.
Clyde and the girls weren’t warned, but the audience has. The movie’s prologue reveals what happened to a woman who tried to destroy this very box. Plus, an introductory note proclaims earnestly that the story is based on “true events.”
Anyone who actually believes in spirits and dybbuks, and other ghoulies will find “The Possession” terrifying. What you’ll find if you go to see this film is a frantically written and scary story. Director Ole Bornedal, a Danish film veteran does the best job of any film director in a genre like this. He sure could have been used in Anthony Hopkins’ “The Rite.” Because he does this film better than most. Juliet Snowden and Stiles White’s script actually tells a story, rather than just stringing together a series of loud noises and shock cuts, added with a peppering of special effects. They actually did a great job on this storyline.
As you may have guessed from the title, Emily becomes possessed by the dybbuk that was locked, (not very well), inside the box. Science can’t help her, and neither can family court. So Clyde takes it upon himself to grow some strength, and even though he’s blamed for everything. He ignores it and sets out to save his little girl. Clyde drives to Brooklyn, seeking help from Hasidic rabbis. Most of them shy away, but one person agrees to help: a tzadok (“righteous man”) named Tzadok. He’s played by, of all people, Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu.
“The Possession” is not “The Exorcist,” but it touches on all the high points from that great story. Clyde then buys a brand-new home in a housing-bubble graveyard full of half-finished, abandoned structures. And the girls are vegans, upset whenever an animal is killed. The film seems to capitalize on darkness inside spooky houses, and it even has real Hebrew chants, which unfortunately are not subtitled. I need my TV show’s producer, Daphna, who is an Israeli and an American citizen to decipher it for me. But it is scary just the same.
Kyra Sedgwick saves the film, shines in it and plays a different type of role for the picture. “The Possession” opens on Friday around the U.S. and Highlight Hollywood gives the film Four out of a possible Five Stars.
Photographs are Courtesy: Lionsgate
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