People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different. In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all. Read on!
You know, more than a few of the screeners I’ve watched over the last year or so have been so bad that instead of having nightmares I have endless loops of them that play across my dreams. The Possession of Michael King though is put out by Anchor Bay, horror archivists and all around badasses, so I have hope.
David Jung’s found footage, possession film does a good job to make not one (possession), but two (found footage) tired concepts seem just a little more believable. Michael King (Shane Johnson), he of the possession, has lost his wife to a freak car accident. A documentary filmmaker, he’s decided to try and cross the boundaries of the afterlife to try and find her. To do so, he engages in a string of demon summonings (some plausible, some laughable), his camera on at all times, and well, it just doesn’t turn out so good. The film, cobbled together from the remains of King’s footage, follows the slow, and painfully physical, transformation as King goes from loving and grieving father to a portal for some horrible monster. It’s a creepy film, not doubt about it, and Jung wrings every creepy bit of exorcism fare he can from the premise. There’s weird neck snapping, vomiting, demonic body lifting, creepy voices, and everything else you might associate with demonic possession. What Jung, and Shane Johnson do best though, is show what a slow demonic possession might look, feel and hear like. Johnson’s King is a smarmy disbeliever, who is slowly pulled down the demonic possession rabbit hole. From a strange static noise that infiltrates his every thought to the appearance of tiny ants to a strange circle of blood that fills in around his eyes, this movie works because we feel every beat of the gradual progress of King’s condition. Jung also does what so few horror directors do anymore – he elevates the threat level to a point where you think that King, under the influence of the demon, will do anything. It isn’t always fantastic – King and his family seem almost too perfect, and Jung’s flashback scenes are cloying – but it brings the chills in fine amount, and it makes Jung a horror director to follow.
Don’t summon demons. It never works out well.
Look for The Possession Of Michael King on DVD/VOD on 8/26.