The Possession

image The story of this movie intrigued me and then I discovered this was based on a true story. A true story with plenty of embellishment I’m sure. But within a couple of minutes I knew where I heard this story before.

A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.

This very tale was documented as one of the episodes of the Haunted History series. A man buys a wine box at an estate sale only to befall a wicked series of bad luck. He then tries to get rid of the box only to have everyone else fall under the same bad luck. Ultimately, one man goes to great length to seal the box and contain a powerful energy within.

So is the story of the "Dibbuk Box" which supposedly contains the trapped energy of an ancient evil. In the supposed true story, the spirit is brought forth using basically a Ouija board and what follows is the Holocaust. Polish sisters are able to contain the energy in a wine crate.

Such is the story of The Possession. After the death of his elderly mother, the son puts his things out for a yard sale. Among them is an unassuming box, almost like a jewelry box. A father, who’s recently been divorced and trying to make a comfortable home for his kids, buys the box and other items to furnish the house. They soon discover the box contains many mysteries and "Clyde" must turn to the Jewish community for help.

I found the original story to be so fascinating as to be unbelievable and wondered why no one had made a movie about the story. Turns out they did. And for the most part it’s not to bad. Things build slowly and over time Emily becomes obsessed with the box and the woman who lives inside. The woman talks to Emily, but soon the spirit wants to do more than just talk. Emily becomes distant and violent. Soon, Emily is just a pawn to the spirit as it tries to make it’s way into the world to who knows what end.

With several scenes that closely mimic the Exorcist, things get a little silly, such as Emily gnawing on raw steak out of the refrigerator. But other such as the hands roaming under the skin, moths wedged in the mouth and creepy scenes of eyes rolling around in the head it does make for some creepy fun. While it holds together well, there is nothing that gives the movie an overall tense feel. Unlike the spirit in the original story that may have brought on the Holocaust, there is no real sense of power of impending trouble with this story. It has some good elements and nothing goes too over the top, but it just becomes the usual, "oh, it’s a demonic spirit." To be cliche, what is the motivation? This is something we have seen and heard about dozens of times before.

That being said, there is nothing really wrong with this movie, it’s just the original story so wild and compelling that the movie retelling seems to fall a little short. It just lacks the drama of a box that is being passed from person to person that contains who knows what sort of evil.

Haunted History – A Deadly Possession – S01E05

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The Conjuring – A Film About Ed and Lorraine Warren

I just found out about this movie and I have to admit, the trailers make this seem creepy as hell. The simple description of the movie reads as follows:

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.

Normally, most of these style movies simply go to far and try to weave in as much shock value and spewing pea soup as they possibly can. I have no idea if the Warren’s were consulted on this movie or if this "based on real events" style movie is really based on factual events. But if the rest of the movie keeps the same atmosphere as these trailers then this could be one hell of an adventure.

The Conjuring opens this weekend, July 19 and I think I’m going to have to see it. I usually wait for these to hit video, but I’m willing to give this a shot. It has an R Rating and was directed by the makers of SAW. The original SAW was a tense and dramatic movie so perhaps they can bring that to The Conjuring.

I have no doubt this is sensationalized and attempts will be made to make this the new Amityville, but it definitely has my interest.

Who else plans to check out this movie for the weekend?

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Cabin in the Woods


This will go down as one of the dumbest horror movies I’ve had the misfortune of seeing. I’m not quite sure which is worse, The Dead Matter or Cabin in the Woods. I went into this movie with no preconceived notions. In fact, a couple friends said it was good and worth seeing. I was looking forward to a “different take”, to the unusual twist this movie supposedly offered. What I saw was a steamy pile that failed at every turn. I found it lacking in suspense, drama, tension or even a plot for that matter. Cabin in the Woods failed to produce anything except a lot of head shaking and sympathy for the poor schmucks who got roped into acting in this piece of crap.

Trying to give the horror genre a twist turns this movie into a confusing and laughable mess. It’s really not giving anything away, since you’ll learn the plot within the first 5 minutes, that a group of college kids have been lead out into the woods to a remote location so they can be sacrificed to the gods. They choose their own demise and then the results are broadcast for all to see. It’s all controlled and manipulated by some corporate or government entity. I guess there is supposed to be some deep meaning in choosing your own fate or destiny here?

Ok, so we have a twist on sacrificing virgins to the gods. The problem is, who the hell cares? There is nothing likeable or suspenseful about this movie. It’s pointless and boring carnage. There is no reason to care about any of the characters, so who gives a damn if they live or die? It’s pretty obvious they’re nothing but cattle, and if they don’t get sacrificed a terrible fate waits for all humanity. So where’s the suspense? What’s the point? It’s completely ludicrous and quite frankly boring. There is nothing original in this plot, nothing unique about how it achieves it’s goal and by the end I was shaking my head and how stupid it all was.

The repeated cut scenes between the action in the woods and the action at command central are just jarring and annoying. They’re betting on who dies first and what death they choose. They throw parties while the virgin gets the crap beat out of her on the dock by the lake. They stand around waiting to see boobs on the big screen as the “whore” participates in the typical sex scene in woods routine. They don’t give a damn about these people, it’s just business as usual. Why the hell should I care? It’s another day at the office, ho hum.

All of this is reminiscent of the ridiculous games we see in the beginning of “The Running Man”. The only thing missing is Richard Dawson to commentate all the action. Where is Jessie “The Body” Ventura to spice things up?

And because the movie is such as a damn mess, we have Sigourney Weaver come out at the end to give us a recap. “This is important work”, “This is meaningful work”. Who in the hell are these gods? What control do they have over humanity? Why should we be scared?

Even with this end, where Dana is on the verge of shooting Marty to save herself and humanity because she’s been confronted by the horror of it all, there is a great big, “whatever”. The whole movie is a sad joke. It fails as a horror movie and fails even worse as a spoof.

This movie was supposed to have some grand vision because Joss Whedon was at the helm. Still haven’t seen anything of his that I like. I can’t believe when all was said and done, the creators of this steamy pile stood back and said, “YES!! That’s the movie we want to make!”

I’m not sure under what circumstances this movie would be exciting or scary. Maybe if we were all as high as Marty, this movie wouldn’t suck so bad.

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Paranormal Incident

image In order to get a decent grade in their glass, a group of friends head out to film paranormal events at the abandoned Odenbrook Sanitarium. With both skeptics and believers in the group, they encounter more than they can handle in this "lost footage" tale. But what could have been an interesting tale of the lone survivor of the incident trying to clear his name for the murder of his friends as he goes through the recovered footage, goes a bit South and gives us an ending that doesn’t even make sense.

It’s a plausible scenario; friends go out to investigate an asylum and to give them some thrills and chills, one of them breaks away from the group. He locks them in with the intent of returning later to scare the crap out of them. But as the group does their investigation things go sideways and they realize something is out there and it’s in no way friendly.

In the style of Grave Encounters, Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, we follow along with the jerky camera movements and things moving in the shadows. As the night moves on, the group realizes they can’t leave and panic ensues. They fight, argue, spew vulgarities and lost trust in each other. Soon, it’s every man for himself. Unfortunately, amidst all the screaming and hysterics there’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold this together. There is the lose idea of patients being abused and a mass suicide from 60 years earlier. The footage is intermixed with "visions" of the past, but how it all ties together is the big mystery. It’s an interesting premise and there is a lot to work with, but they can’t pull it together. What we end up with is haphazard investigation that leads us nowhere.

The acting within the "lost footage" is tolerable, barely, but the hospital scenes are just tragic. You begin to groan as soon as they cut back to hideous green and white walls of the hospital room.

While there was nothing compelling about this movie, I kept watching so I see the big reveal and find out what’s behind the events. But the big reveal doesn’t come and I don’t know what the hell kind of ending we’re given. We’re dropped in the middle of some craptacular X-Files ripoff and I don’t know what the hell just happened. What is this mess? How this ending fits with the rest of the movie I don’t know, but I’m terribly confused.

The ending completely ruins what could have been a decent, and I use that word loosely, low budget scare. There are some moments of fun in this movie, but by the time you get to the end, you’ll want to throw something.

Paranormal Incident

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