Horror movies involving exorcism of evil spirits usually involve priests, ministers and supernatural mediums. But The Possession features an unusual hero in the person of an orthodox rabbi. That was the only fresh element of the latest addition to the demon-child horror genre.
The Possession is about ten-year old Emily (Natasha Calis). She looks like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. But the movie doesn’t have projectile vomit and crucifixes because the demon comes from Judaic lore. A dibbuk is said to be the dislocated soul of a dead person who inhabit a host and devour it. One possesses Emily and it makes ghostly fingers to emerge from her gullet and cause her to gag.
The dibbuk that possesses Emily used to live in an antique box engraved with Hebrew letters. Emily buys it from a yard sale. It is said to give children everything they ask for. Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Emily’s father, is a basketball coach who is recently divorced from Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick).
The divorce is a narrative device that leads to fighting between the parents and delays the realization that Emily is already possessed. Emily’s older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) is unaware of her sister’s behavior.
The Possession is said to be based on a true story but from the looks of things, screenwriter Leslie Gornstein is more or less inspired by The Exorcist, The Unborn, and Poltergeist. The dibbuk turns Emily’s eyes to a milky-white color with dark circles around it. Later an MRI reading shows the murky face of the spirit.
Clyde sees his daughter becoming more attached to the wooden box and researches about it. He talks with several Hasidic rabbis about the box but they offer no help because they fear the spirit will go after them. Well, except for a young rabbinical scholar (Matisyahu).
The Possession is more annoying than frightening. It brings nothing new to the table except for the young rabbi as the exorcist.