THE POSSESSION, from Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures, Bone Chilling Evil

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THE POSSESSION, a shocking demonic thriller, from Lionsgate Film and Ghost House Pictures, recently hosted its press conference for select members of the media at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Produced by horror aficionado, Sam Raimi, The POSSESSION stars Kyra Sedgwick as Stephanie Brenek, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as her former husband, Clyde Brenek, Grant Show is her new love interest Brett, and relatively newcomers to film Madison Davenport plays Hannah and Natasha Calis portrays Emily Brenek, sisters and children of Clyde and Stephanie. The two girls personify and embody the tragic occurrences that have them surrounded and trapped by an unknown demonic force.

Directed by Ole Bornedal, a native of Denmark, THE POSSESSION has a unique feel as Bornedal chose to create a film that was a terrifying horror story without the use of external gore or excessive gratuitous blood scenes, and chose to build on heightened suspense, and demonic fear, almost a retrospect to great horror and suspense filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, whose name alone, we know, is synonymous with that style.

Emily/Calis, the youngest child finds a mysterious, carved, wooden chest and is immediately drawn into the apparent mystery surrounding it. From this point on the events depicted are interwoven with creative license and documented accounts. According to the introduction the story focuses on twenty-nine days in the lives of the family. Over the next twenty-eight days their lives, that were already torn apart, deteriorate into a living hell and nightmares beyond belief.

THE POSSESSION lures the audience into the suspense and believability of the events. As a loving father, Clyde Brenek, makes the decision to fight the unknown and potentially battle the demons of hell for the life of his child. To do that he travels to Borough Park, Brooklyn to one of the largest Hasidic communities in the world where he meets Zadok, played by Jewish rap/regge artist, Matisyahu, the worldly son of an observant Hasidic rabbi. Meeting after Shabbat, when the streets are empty, Brenek and Zadok, approach the Rabbi with what has become the source of every evil, terror and destruction.

The Dibbik, an equal member of the cast, is found, as chance or fate would appear, casually as the newly divorced Clyde Brenek is playing weekend dad with his girls, stopping to shop at a local yard sale, the three peek into another’s life as they look through the odds and ends placed out for sale.

The Dibbik, from ancient Jewish folklore, is the place, the coffin for those evil spirits who have been trapped and are looking for release and a host. Dibbuk’s, while considered mythical, have in recent years been attributed as the cause of many documented demonic possessions of which exorcisms have been performed and, as only in our social media contemporary society, posted to You Tube.

As THE POSSESSION writers, Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, developed a screenplay that included the internal destructions of family and also the unknown and highly unlikely destructions faced through demonic possession, spiritual or religious wafare.

Having the opportunity to participate in THE POSSESSION press day the following is an excerpt from the press conference: 

Janet Walker: [to the writers] With parts of the story being attributed to truth and parts to creative license how did you choose the level of possession, demonic possession, and how did you put a face on evil, I mean clearly at the end evil has a face so how did you do that?

Juliet Snowden: Well, for us, what we were really trying to explore is what this Dibbuk box was going to do to this family.  So we were really thinking when we were writing what happens when families get divorce and what happens to kids stuck in between and we were exploring relationship and that for us that are where the horror came from.

THE POSESSION is intriguing on multiple levels and has heightened concentrations of suspense.  As someone who has no tolerance for the horror genre, it was shocking to see the cast, and especially Madison Davenport and Nastaha Calis, gave such strong performances; they were bone chilling and stunningly accurate. 

As it is minus all the usual gore and blood scenes, it is genuinely scary. Be prepared evil always has a way of surviving. A reviewer’s tip: Don’t accept any wooden boxes and chances are you’ll be safe.

THE POSSESSION opens everywhere August 31, 2012. Check your local listings.


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