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The Possession [DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet]

3.8 out of 5 stars 604 customer reviews

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(Jan 15, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on a true story, THE POSSESSION is the terrifying story of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.

If they know the word at all, most moviegoers will recognize dibbuk (or dybbuk) from the philosophical gag that opened Joel and Ethan Coen's brilliant comedy A Serious Man. Orthodox Jews know from their religion that a dibbuk is a spirit who wanders the world in form to haunt the living, or perhaps to take their bodies in a version of demonic possession. The dibbuk box that a young (non-Jewish) girl finds at a yard sale is definitely holding a malevolent spirit looking for a human to help escape its banishment. It is also the creepy catalyst for another effects-heavy case of Hollywood possession and exorcism in The Possession. A recently divorced couple, Clyde and Stephanie (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) co-parent two bright daughters who share time at both their parents' houses. The younger one, Em (Natasha Calis), seems to be called by the strange box covered with Hebrew letters. When she takes it home to Daddy's house, it opens of its own accord in the night, casting a spell on her that becomes progressively more disconcerting until it ultimately possesses her completely. As much as it causes her harm (which Stephanie initially interprets as abuse by Clyde), she must always be near it. It causes some truly unpleasant phenomena, including an infestation of giant moths that swarm from her mouth, and later a ghastly series of physical horrors that unfold in a hospital morgue. Frantic for help in saving his daughter, Clyde appeals to a conclave of Hassidic rabbis, who all turn their back on the evil, save for one young man named Tzadok (Matisyahu), who feels duty bound to end the unleashed hell and get the dibbuk back in the box. Though it easily falls into the burgeoning craze of graphic exorcism and possession horror flicks, The Possession stands out for its consistent attention to serious detail and is aided by strong performances all around. Morgan and Sedgwick are believable and sympathetic as partners who still love each other but need to be separate, even as their love for their daughters still binds them. Natasha Calis is pretty sensational in conveying all the feelings of a typical 11-year-old, but also as a being overtaken by a force that makes her psycho-crazy. As her 15-year-old sister Hannah, Madison Davenport also gives a naturalistic and sometimes heart-rending read to her part as confused, terrified observer. A practicing orthodox Jew and popular musician in real life, Matisyahu brings a level of austerity and realism to his compassionate presence as the only one who can help. The Possession is a legitimately hair-raising genre entry, with real drama and enough effects grotesqueries to keep fanboys as well as the less fanatic aficionados happy. Note: In addition to a commentary track with the director, the disc also includes a featurette that examines the "based on a true story" epigraph. Apparently there is an actual dibbuk box, but it's far more benign than the fictionalized movie version. --Ted Fry

Special Features

- Audio Commentary with director Ole Bornedal
- Audio Commentary with writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White
- “The Real History of the Dibbuk Box” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick
  • Directors: Ole Bornedal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Ultraviolet, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Digital_copy
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (604 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009XTF8KQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,056 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was superb! Although the scares are sporadic, the story was intriguing and suspenseful. I was never bored. After watching horror movies for 40 years, I don't care for slasher films. I prefer intelligent, suspenseful horror with good acting and a great ending. This movie fits the bill. I recommend it for those who prefer stylish horror. Best of all, there are no vomiting scenes. I hate that!
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Format: DVD
This was okay. But Raimi fans will find no Drag Me to Hell gross-out gore and generally horror fans will not see original scenes (regarding scares), provocative possession behavior, or unique plot elements. The newer you are to the genre (or, possession or demon box movies, per se) the more you will enjoy this finely prepared, but under-seasoned meal. While perfectly competent for a horror, let's call it the "Diet Coke" of exorcism; a series of missed opportunities and pulled punches.

Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick), Em[ily] (Natasha Calis) and her older sister are a family recently sundered by a rather civil divorce. But when young Em becomes fond of an antique puzzle box she finds at a yard sale things start to get strange. Em becomes temperamental, graduating to obsessive about the box while apathetic (even sociopathic) of the needs or wants of others. Clyde begins to suspect a malevolent force is at work and seeks the aid of the Hasidic elders, from whom we learn about demons (or dibbuks), their specially crafted, imprisoning boxes, and exorcism.

Most truly impressive was our young Natasha Calis as Em. She did an amazing job showing us that as the demon commanded more and more of her conscious self (to the point of entirety) that underneath she was aware of her uncharacteristic, marionetted actions. Her expressive eyes were the key. Somehow malevolent on the possessed outside, while only thinly veiling the sadness and desperation of the scared child trapped within behind the evil veneer. As her desperate and fearful father, Jeffrey Dean Morgan also does a spectacular job as the serial-recipient of her cold, lifeless gazes. But all of this amazing tone contributed to only minor tension with no real follow-through.
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8 Comments 59 of 74 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watch a lot of horror movies. Have for years. I was feeling numb to them but this one got me! Actually turned on the lights. Really great twists. This is not an Exorcist rip off. This one is based on old Jewish mythology of the dibbuk. A human who is so evil they are condemned to live as deamons for all time. The DVD includes the story behind the story and it is facinating.

I cannot say I have seen many movies that feature religious Jews. I am not Jewish so I am not exactly looking for them. This one introduces a Jewish exorcism which is not like the catholic one at all. I was facinated by that. A glimpse into a world I never see,

I have never seen a horror movie where a religious Jew was the hero.
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Format: Blu-ray
There's been a rash of exorcism-style films these last few years. Some of them have been good, and, naturally, some of them have been bad. It could be that this trend is little more than an industry going through its creativity cycle, rediscovering some of what produces more authentic scares from yesteryear - that being stories grounded in reality - for audiences who've grown accustomed to and thus dismissive of more special-effects-heavy gore. I tend to believe that there's something a bit different going on; I think that we - as a society - tend to reach out for a renewal of these spirits-inhabiting-another tales when we're going through some cultural upheavals. Instead of accepting that Tinseltown drives us, I prefer to think that we tap find these special places all on our own. Then, some clever scriptwriters trap lightning in a bottle, and viola! That same ol' exorcism is now back in vogue!

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to my last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

Clyde Brenek (played by the reliable Jeffrey Dean Morgan) recently separated from his wife, Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick). When their youngest daughter, Emily (Natasha Calis), begins displaying some weirdly erratic behaviors, they and her school are quick to chalk it all up to the inevitable side effect of a marriage in collapse. However, the girl's creeping obsession with an ornate, antique wooden box she picked up from a yard sale borders on the insane.
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2 Comments 32 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
For those who aren't familiar with the name Sam Raimi my guess is you are aware of the movies he's made. Lately he's been associated with the first Spider-man trilogy starring Tobey McGuire. But long before that Raimi was a director whose first major film of note was THE EVIL DEAD, still one of the scariest movies ever made. That being said I guess it's no wonder that Raimi got into the producing side of the business. The latest film to find him in that seat is THE POSSESSION and it's one of the scariest movies I've seen in some time.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as Clyde, a basketball coach recently divorced from his wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick). The couple has two pre-teen children, Hannah (Madison Davenport) is the older of the two and of course the standard troubled pre-teen. Em (Natasha Calls) is the younger of the pair and still has high hopes of her parents reuniting. With a new man in her life that's highly unlikely.

On a weekend when Clyde has the girls staying at his place they stop at a yard sale where Em's eye is attracted to what appears to be an antique box with some writings carved into it. Of course she's allowed to buy this and then takes it home. It seems like a puzzle box with no way of being opened, but eventually Em does get it open. And that's when things begin to happen.

Small things at first like a single moth in a room. But that escalates when during the night a bunch of these moths show up in the bathroom while Hannah is there which leads them to Em's room which is filled to the brim with them. A phone call to an exterminator and a trip him ends this visit.

As the story moves forward Em begins to show signs of becoming different. Her parents think it's nothing more than her reaction to their recent split.
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