"An EXORCIST for Jews"
What You Need To Know:
THE POSSESSION provides plenty of scares. Except for a couple corny moments, the acting is good, though perhaps not brilliant. Unlike recent movies of its kind, THE POSSESSION has a positive ending where the evil spirit is banished back into the box. However, a last scene sets viewers up for a possible sequel. MOVIEGUIDE® advises serious caution, especially for those moviegoers susceptible to such ghostly scares and occult content.
(BB, OO, PC, E, LL, VV, A, M) Strong moral worldview about a family seeking help from a Jewish rabbi to stop an evil spirit from haunting their youngest daughter, with strong occult scares and violence requiring caution, plus light politically correct environmentalism in one scene when girl talks about her vegetarianism in a politically correct, environmentalist manner; five obscenities, one strong profanity, five light profanities; strong scary violence includes infestation of moths in little girl’s room, spirit possessing little girl causes man’s teeth to fall out, truck suddenly crashes into car, spirit possessing little girl causes her to try strangling man, man flung against wall, “dislocated” spirit causes woman to hit her head hard on table and knocking her out, spirit’s body somehow inhabits girl’s body and one scene shows fingers coming out of her mouth, scary moths come out of girl’s mouth; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, evil spirit causes little girl to lie and some dysfunctional family situations that are, however, healed.
THE POSSESSION is a supernatural thriller with a Jewish twist. It’s a well-made horror movie, with some good acting, that accomplishes what it sets out to do. It’s also almost totally free of any lewd content, though the scares warrant caution for younger and sensitive moviegoers.
In the story, the youngest daughter of divorced parents, Em, spies an old box, with Jewish writing on it, at a yard sale. Her father, Clyde, buys it for her. However, the box contains a Dybbuk, an evil “dislocated spirit” that begins to haunt the little girl.
In desperation, as Em begins acting more and more malevolent, her father seeks help from the Hassidic Jewish community in New York City. Too frightened, the older rabbis refuse to help. However, a younger rabbi, Tzadok, agrees to perform an exorcism ritual to order the spirit back into the box. The exorcism turns out to be easier said than done.
THE POSSESSION provides plenty of scares. Except for a couple corny moments, the acting is good, though perhaps not brilliant.
Unlike other recent movies of its kind, THE POSSESSION has a positive ending where the evil spirit is banished back into the box. Also, the little girl’s broken family is healed. However, a last scene shows the box escaping before it can be hidden away. This scene sets viewers up for a possible sequel – if THE POSSESSION succeeds at the box office, of course.
The production notes cite two Jewish “experts” on Jewish folklore about Dybbuks, or dislocated spirits. These experts suggest that, in Jewish folklore and religion, the Dybbuk is only malevolent and is similar to the demonic possession found in Christian circles, including the New Testament.
However, neither of these two experts are rabbinical theologians. Also, Movieguide® found a couple Jewish rabbis and bonafide theologians on the Internet who said that, in Jewish folklore and religion, a Dybbuk can have either good or bad motives for clinging to a person. Also, they said even if the “dislocated” spirit does have a bad motive, the goal of the Jewish exorcism ritual is not to banish the spirit into a box but to heal both the spirit and the person whom the spirit is harassing.
If these other experts are correct, then THE POSSESSION seems to be combining some Christian theology and folklore about demonic possession with Jewish theology and folklore. Whatever the case, however, THE POSSESSION provides enough chills to scare both Christians and Jews. Either way, MOVIEGUIDE® advises serious caution for moviegoers, especially those who may be susceptible to such ghostly scares and occult content.