'The Possession': Child-demon Sub Genre Is Tired, Very Tired
Exorcism movies come and go and ever since the benchmark was set with the 1973 movie The Exorcist, the mould has rarely been broken. And sadly, it doesn't look as though the latest possession movie, The Possession is going to be the film to alter that trend. The movie, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Natasha Calis hasn't exactly set the critics alight with praise and it's only scored a fairly paltry 35 per cent on the reviews collation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Claudia Puig of USA Today couldn't see past the usual exorcism movie cliches and said that "Rather than embellish imaginatively, screenwriter Leslie Gornstein seems to have re-watched The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Unborn for inspiration" and added that the demon-child horror movie is a "tired sub-genre." The film-makers attempts to translate a traditionally Catholic-themed genre to Judaism did not go down well in many quarters, with The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck snorting that "This Jewish-themed horror film demonstrates that the Anti-Defamation League is never around when you need them."
Even having horror king Sam Raimi's name attached to the movie isn't enough to convince most critics, though Roger Ebert does concede that "The Exorcist has influenced a lot of films, and this is one of the better ones." Mark Olsen of Los Angeles Times seems to agree, calling the film a "better-than-most fright-time tale." That probably won't amount to huge success for the movie though; as Film4 commented: "the only really scary thing here is the lack of imagination."