Call me a horror snob, but I was scoffing at this movie before I even saw it. I thought it looked it like almost every other mainstream horror movie that is coming out these days that does nothing but rely on cheap scares and stupid images with no meaning to make us think that it's cooler than it is. And well... okay, the movie does do that for the most part, you gotta admit, but I always try to overlook some of that stuff to see if a new movie manages to give us something new. The Possession, while being mostly formulaic and trite, did actually surprise or intrigue me at points and I'd like to give it some props.
The movie starts with an older lady getting the shit beaten out of her when she is thrown around her living room because she tried to destroy this wooden box on her shelf. Cut to our good old American family (well, almost) who purchases the box at a yard sale for young daughter Emily. Of course, Emily starts exhibiting strange behavior and becomes increasingly possessive of (and possessed by) this strange object. Turns out that it is a dybbuk box, something from Jewish folklore that is said to house the spirit of a restless demon who is able to possess the living.
On to some of the movie's good parts. I found myself really enjoying the acting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the dad Clyde and the two girls who played his daughters, Emily and Hannah. Kyra Sedgewick as the mother Stephanie is the same old horror movie mother I've seen before with no real personality. Sorry, Kyra, but it's true. Anyway, the family is going through the obligatory (seems to be the word of the day) strife with the parents being divorced, which of course just makes the whole demonic possession thing even worse. I really thought that Clyde and his daughters had some nice family moments together, and most importantly, Clyde's love and connection to his children felt real. Morgan is becoming a particular favorite of mine, even though it took me about 20 minutes to realize that he was not Robert Downey, Jr. Seriously. Those two have to be related in some way, I'm sure of it.
Though a pretty good chunk of The Possession is all trite, uninspiring, forgettable crap, I'm going to give it at least a few plus points for introducing a new concept to the same old exorcism stories. There are good actors to help give us some nicely drawn characters, and portray a believable family unit. It wasn't as bad a movie as I was expecting; it was just mostly disappointing - especially coming from beloved producer Sam Raimi.