Fox // 2009 // 85 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 19th, 2010
Jessica sees both her husband and her brother-in-law lying in hospital beds side by side with bandages covering their face.
Jessica: "Which one is my husband?"
Possession is a film that was supposed to be released in cinemas as early as 2008. Then when it missed that theatrical date it was to go straight to DVD a year later in 2009. Neither of those things happened as a distribution deal fell through due to the Yari Film Group filing Chapter 11 protection during bankruptcy proceedings. It was contested who owned the rights to distribute the movie, and this resulted in the supernatural thriller being shelved until March of 2010. Now after dozens of release dates we finally get Possession on DVD. Amazing to think stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) wrapped filming on this project back in 2007, but we're just now getting to see the finished product. I suppose the big question is, was it worth the wait?
The whole thing is being severely mismarketed thanks to a spooky box cover and title that makes you think this is going to be yet another scary Sarah Michelle Gellar Asian remake such as The Grudge. Adding to the genre confusion is that this is a remake of a South Korean film from 2002 named Addicted, but it's not a scary story. Rather than straight up horror this one seems to be a romantic thriller or mystery with a supernatural twist, asking if a soul can travel from one body to another. There are no inky ghosts or troubling pasty kids screaming like a cat from a dark corner. Instead we have two brothers in a car accident that seem to do a Freaky Friday while they are bleeding on the pavement of the Golden Gate Bridge. The bad brother (Pace) seems to become the good brother, and his wife (Gellar) is left to try and figure out if this is really happening. Is it truly a possession or just an elaborate con?
Possession is not some lost gem of the cinema that never made it to theaters; it's more a stylish Lifetime film with glossy production value and star power to keep it going. Gellar and Pace have great chemistry, and they both turn in strong performances with the material they are given. The film is shot well with some very nice mood murk provided by the cinematographer. The main problem is the story feels like it is unsure where it is supposed to go, and you even have an entire alternate third act on the DVD to support this theory. It just never resolves, and that's the problem with this one.
On DVD it looks fine. The widescreen anamorphic transfer is well done with nice black levels and sumptuous colors. There are no digital artifacts or anything to complain about outside of some of the overly obvious CGI work that sticks out now and then. The sound design is full surround, and it's just as capable as the video presentation.
Extras are mainly just a behind the scenes feature with the cast on set talking about the themes of the movie and then a handful of deleted scenes. Where all of this gets really interesting is one of the deleted scenes is actually thirty minutes long, and contains an alternate ending to the film. Yep, they reshot the entire third act of this one at some point. The unused last sequences are actually better than what ended up getting into the final cut, so it's certainly worth checking out.
Possession is nice work by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace, but ultimately it just doesn't hold together well due to a botched plot that falls apart in the final reel. It's not the spookfest the box promises, but rather a movie which asks viewers how much faith they have in love beyond the grave. No, not zombie loving or anything that fantastic. Like that Nicole Kidman icky flick Birth this one asks what would you do if someone you loved slipped in to someone else's body? Would you go with it? I guess if the person looked like Buffy or the guy from Pushing Daisies the choice wouldn't be all that hard. It's worth checking out if you're a fan of the actors, but overall it doesn't work. Hopefully something better will come along for them like a scary Asian movie to remake.
Guilty of being repossessed one too many times.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Alternate Ending
* Deleted Scenes