The Possession of Michael King (2014)

Plot Overview

After his wife dies in an accident – an accident which may have been prevented had she not followed the advice of a psychic – Michael sets out to prove that religion and the paranormal are all nonsense. His plan is to allow various professionals to try rituals and spells on him – for them to inevitably fail. As the title suggests, his plan doesn’t quite pan out the way he hoped.

Review

Unusual for a film about ‘person avenging dead loved one’, Michael doesn’t spend the film moping about his dead wife and staring lovingly at their daughter. Michael – and the film – is focused almost entirely on his quest to debunk the paranormal and his inevitable possession, which I quite liked.

However, the film is cliche after cliche and jump scare after jump scare. As with the last film I reviewed, the family pet once again is not in for a particularly good time. It does all the same things as any kind of possession film (though doesn’t do the whole exorcism thing). The film doesn’t quite hammer it into your skull that he’s an atheist and that religion is just all crap and it also doesn’t get all preachy that it isn’t – another thing I liked. Most of the jump scares did actually make me jump – but only because I had to keep turning up the volume because I couldn’t hear them talking and then the sound would go crazy loud all of a sudden. It didn’t build up any tension to earn the scares and in this case don’t even count as scares because it’s just sudden loud noises.

Although it’s in the found footage format (which I’m a fan of, by the way), too many liberties are taken with it, spoiling the effect. For example, why can we hear the noises in his head? Why is the camera always in strange places? Why is there other music and sounds we shouldn’t really be hearing in a found footage film? The camera was just in the right place at the right time way too much. The writing and acting was also not very natural, so that with the combination of a found footage style film made me all too aware that I was watching a scripted film.

The acting was actually quite decent. Shane Johnson was quite likable and could do a good creepy face. I don’t think he was quite strong enough to portray both sides effectively (also perhaps as a result of other weak aspects of the film), but he should be commended on the effort. Everyone else was fine too.

Summary

Despite glimpses of promise, the film falls flat due to a lot of cliches and cheap jump scares. It left little to the imagination and wasn’t scary enough at any point. It’s never really boring, but you’re never really hanging onto your seat. It’s not a bad effort from a first-time director, but ultimately is pretty forgettable. If you’re a fan of found footage or possession movies, then it’s worth a look, but keep in mind that it doesn’t offer anything new.

Rating: 5/10

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