Digital Crave

New to DVD and Blu-ray: “The Possession” provides a creepy variation on the ‘Spooky Little Girl’ movie



In one sense, the horror film The Possession – new to DVD and Blu-ray this week – is all about the otherworldly dangers of yard sales.

After a disturbing prologue, in which an old lady is apparently assaulted by a telekinetic wooden box, we cut to a typical suburban yard garage sale. Recently divorced dad Clyde Brenek (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is buying knick knacks for his two girls, pre-teen Em (Natasha Calis) and sullen middle schooler Hannah (Madison Davenport).

Wouldn't you know it, Em picks out the very same box from the prologue and brings it home. All manner of trouble ensues, including moth infestations, dead teachers and demonic assaults.

The Possession recycles elements from a dozen previous horror films and falls into the category of what I call 'The Spooky Little Girl Movie'. William Friedkin's 1973 The Exorcist pioneered the genre, and it has yet to be equaled.

Like other recent specimens of the 'Spooky Little Girl Movie' (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, The Last Exorcism), the movie features startling images and grave scenes of worried parents consulting with sage occult experts.

Predictability isn't necessarily a problem in this genre, though, as you pretty much know what you're getting into by looking at the DVD box art. The Possession switches things up a bit by introducing the concept of the dibbuk box, a Hebrew ritual artifact used to trap the souls of troublesome demons. Clyde eventually seeks help from a Hasidic community in Brooklyn, where he in joined by the young exorcist Tzadok (played by Hasidic hip-hip/reggae artist Matisyahu. Seriously.)

The movie's best moments concern Jewish folklore and bizarro backstory of the dibbuk box. The Possession is ostensibly based on a true story of the real haunted wine cabinet, which according to legend has a history dating back to the Holocaust in Poland.

The film also features an impressive performance from 13-year-old Natasha Calis as Em. Calis can flip from sweet and vulnerable to seriously menacing – in the manner of teenagers everywhere, I suppose – and she has a couple scenes that really elevate the film. Also look for Kyra Sedgwick as the girls' mom, understandably freaked out by her daughter's lethal mood swings.

The Possession will never make the list of horror classics, but it's a surprisingly effective and largely bloodless scary movie that avoids violence and cheap shock scares. That PG-13 rating doesn't mean it's safe for kids, though. The movie has some very scary imagery (watch out for the X-ray scene) and heavy family trauma scenes.

Extras: Commentary track with the director and writers plus the documentary, The Real History of the Dibbuk Box. This doc is profoundly underwhelming, and if you want to preserve the "true story" illusion of the film, I suggest you skip it entirely.

Also New This Week:

Taken 2: Liam Neeson continues his late-career renaissance as action hero in this sequel to the 2008 thriller, which was a surprise box office hit. Neeson plays an ex-CIA officer whose family is threatened by international bad guys.

To Rome With Love: Director Woody Allen's latest comedy stars Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Greta Gerwig in four interrelated vignettes.

Detropia: One of last year's best documentaries, Detropia profiles the terrifying economic decline of the city of Detroit and the resilient spirit of its people.

Farewell, My Queen: Diane Kruger stars as Marie Antionette in French director Benoit Jacquot's critically acclaimed historical drama.

The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alfred Hitchcock's early-career suspense thriller stars Peter Lorre is his first English-speaking role.

The Other Dream Team: The award-winning indie documentary tells the story of the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, who went from brutal Communist rule to Olympic gold. (Well, bronze, but still.)

TV-on-DVD: Season collections from HBO's Life's Too Short and Ray Ramano's underrated sitcom Men of a Certain Age.

Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.

Check out more tech trends and news at Digital Crave.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 'You're a disgrace': Donald Trump Jr slammed for criticising Sadiq Khan only hours after London attack

      The son of U.S. President Donald Trump has been slammed as a ‘disgrace’ after he appeared to criticise London mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter, only hours after a terror attack at the Houses of Parliament left four people dead – including a police officer.

      Yahoo News UK
    • Fox News viewers are gunning for Shep Smith. How will Fox News respond?

      With Megyn Kelly no longer on the air occasionally pushing back against President Trump's treatment of women, Fox News viewers are channeling their ire toward Shepard Smith, who anchors the news and opinion network's afternoon and breaking news coverage. "Smith's persistent fact-mongering has made him persona non grata among some parts of the Fox News faithful," says Paul Farhi at The Washington Post. Smith's past comments affirming human-influenced climate change, supporting same-sex marriage, urging reasoned calm on terrorism and disease, and defending rival network CNN from "fake news" attacks from Trump have raised hackles among some network viewers, but it was this throwing cold water on

      The Week q
    • US forces just went behind enemy lines in Syria to cut off ISIS’ only escape route

      The offensive to destroy ISIS in Syria took a big step forward recently with US military...

      Business Insider
    • Carrie Underwood Works Out with New Gym Buddy: Her Son!

      Carrie Underwood Work Outs with New Gym Buddy: Her Son!

    • CEO creates ‘Snowflake Test’ to weed out job applicants

      The Silent Partner Marketing CEO Kyle Reyes on why he created the ‘Snowflake Test.’

      Fox Business Videos
    • 'Rehab Addict' Nicole Curtis sued by city of Minneapolis

      "Rehab Addict" Nicole Curtis is facing a lawsuit from the city of Minneapolis over a home she purchased from the government in 2013 for just $2. And the HGTV star is firing back against the city.  According to the lawsuit obtained by Consumerist, Curtis' firm Detroit Designs purchased the home in a north Minneapolis neighborhood under several conditions, including completing "minimum improvements" on the home, maintaining the required insurance and paying property taxes within 12 months of purchase. The city alleges in its suit, filed in January, that Curtis "failed to redevelop the property," failed to "substantially complete minimum improvements," "failed to pay real estate taxes" and "failed

      Fox News q
    • Donald and Melania Trump No Longer Sleep in the Same Room

      The couple reportedly "never spend the night together."

      Marie Claire
    • Lioness attempts to attack tourists but leap falls way short; video

      As a vehicle carrying tourists made its way past a lion enclosure in the Serengeti Safari section of the Estrella Biopark in Montemorelos, Mexico, a lioness went into a crouching position as if stalking the visitors. Then it decided to attack, which was a horrible idea by Elsa the lioness, as footage captured by tourist Jan Adrian Diaz proves: The lioness obviously overestimated its leaping ability as it fell into the large moat that surrounds the enclosure and keeps tourists safe for instances such as these. Elsa wasn’t even close to reaching the other side of the trench. The male lion, meanwhile, remained lying in its position, no doubt unimpressed by the lioness’ antics. A park spokesperson q
    • Inside Edition
    • US President's Son Faces Backlash After Criticizing London Mayor

      The Westminster attack left three people dead and almost 40 injured. The attacker was killed by the police outside the U.K. parliament.

      International Business Times
    • Infant twin girls found dead inside apartment

      Two infant twin girls turned “purple” and died Wednesday morning in a south New Jersey apartment, according to a report. The mother of the seven-month-old babies frantically called 911 around 8 a.m. and told a dispatcher her baby twins couldn’t breathe, reports said. “My twins are purple. They’re not breathing!” the woman can be heard saying on the call, which was obtained by a local media outlet. The operator told her to try CPR, but her efforts were fruitless and she was unable to revive them, reports said. Tasia Mayweather, a family friend of the father, said he asked her for a ride to the Lindenwold apartment as the incident was unfolding but they arrived too late, the Courier-Post reported.

      New York Post q
    • The US Navy has a severe 'missile gap' with China and Russia — here's how it can beat them anyway

      The US wields the world's biggest, most powerful Navy, but recent developments in China and Russia's missile inventory severely threaten the surface fleet with superior range and often velocity. For years, the Navy has focused on a concept called "distributed lethality," which calls for arming even the Navy's smallest ships with powerful weapons that can hit targets hundreds of miles out.

      Business Insider UK
    • 20 Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts (21 photos)

      Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May — every year — so why does it always seem to pop up out of nowhere? We have 20 thoughtful gifts wrapped up in a pretty bow (er, slideshow!). From Good Housekeeping

      Good Housekeeping
    • How Much Money Does the Average American Have in Their Retirement Account?

      How does your retirement account compare to how much other American families have put away? We take a look at the numbers.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Good luck buying an iPhone 8 on launch day this year

      Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhones in September, including the iPhone 8 and two iPhone 7s models. The initial iPhone 8 stock will be so low that it’ll sell out almost immediately after preorders start, a new report explains. Recent reports have claimed that production for certain iPhone 8 components will only commence in the third quarter, suggesting that Apple may not have enough iPhone 8 stock to meet demand at launch. A new research note from Barclays, obtained by MacRumors , says the majority of iPhone 8 stock might not be available until later in the fourth quarter. “Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher ASPs,” the report notes, referring to the iPhone 8 as the iPhone Pro. The iPhone 8 is also known as the iPhone X or iPhone Edition, as Apple is yet to announce a formal name for the upcoming handset. “We now believe that all three devices will feature wireless charging and will all be launched in the normal September timeframe, although the majority of iPhone Pro volumes may not be available until Q4,” the report adds. The analysts at Barclay also reiterated many of the iPhone 8 rumors we’ve heard before. The iPhone 8 should sport a 5.8-inch display, 5.15 inches of which will be usable. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be embedded in the screen, and the remaining space around it might be used for virtual buttons. The phone will come with support for wireless charging, but the wireless charger will not be included in the box. Other specs include a front-facing 3D sensor module, a dual camera on the back, and a stacked logic board design that will let Apple pack a bigger battery inside the iPhone.

      BGR News
    • Gary Player takes shot at Jack Nicklaus ahead of Masters tee shot

      Did you hear? Like the PGA Championship, the Masters is adding a long-drive competition for 2017.

    • Carrie Underwood used her toddler as a workout weight, revolutionizes #momgoals

      Since it’s always good to be healthy, it makes sense that Carrie Underwood has an exercise routine. As a Mom, it’s also…

      Hello Giggles
    • Texas Teacher, 27, Accused of Improper Relationship with 17-Year-Old Male Student

      Texas Teacher Allegedly Had Improper Relationship with Student

    • Donald Trump Jr sparks storm over terror comments made by London Mayor Sadiq Khan

      Donald Trump Jr slammed the mayor of London on Wednesday (22 March) just hours after the deadly terror attack in Westminster that has left at least four dead, including the attacker. The eldest son of President Donald Trump tweeted: "You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan," along with a link to an article by The Independent from September 2016.

      International Business Times