Saturday, February 27, 2010

One A Week Review #8: Jay's Review: Possession

All these snow days are making for some fine movie-watchin' weather. This supernatural thriller I reviewed for dvdsnapshot will keep you in for a night! I liked this one enough I'd also like it to be my one-a-week review. The more I think about this one, I think I like the more downbeat and novelistic alternate ending better than the hopeful, movie-ish one they went with, but either way, it's an interesting flick.



Newlyweds Jess (Gellar) and Ryan (Landes) seem to have it all until a car accident renders both Ryan and his brother Roman (Pace) comatose. But things spin even more eerily out of control when Roman wakes up and tries to convince Jess that he is her husband. Beside herself with fear and grief, Jess grapples with the one question: Could the man before her actually be the man she lost ... or does something far more sinister await her in his arms?


Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lee Pace, and Michael Landes star in this remake of the Korean film Jungdok. Gellar plays a busy lawyer with a too-perfect sculptor husband who has rotten jailbird of a brother she has an unfortunate frisson with.. These yin-and-yang brothers, through contrived coincidence, wind up in a head-on collision and comatose in adjoining beds. When only her brother-in-law wakes up claiming to be her husband, she takes him home and has to discern if it's "right-one wrong-bod" or something else. Is it a con or a miracle? Is she just giving in to an attraction to a bad boy? What is the connection between the brothers? What's going on?

Gellar's somewhat brittle charms have never really translated well to the big screen. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she came off strong and personable thanks to the writing. It also made good use of her tendency to maintain a palpable distance from everyone else sharing a scene with her. That's a quality that serves her well here. Lee Pace charmed on TV in Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, but here he sells "confused nice guy" and is a very convincing bad boy as well.

Her standoffishness and his appeal keep Possession grounded. They spar instead of letting the story make an easy slide into either supernatural romance or horror. The story's even pacing and slow build means limited thrills but insures involvement. All the potential directions the story could go in almost make the third act's reveal disappointing as it starts limiting the options.

Evidently the distributor's financial problems have kept this on the shelf for two years, though this is a cut above most straight-to-video affairs. Also, some artful editing and excellent cinematography make it a good-looking film.  Possession is an engaging film, a "Whoisit" instead of a "Whodunnit."

is presented on DVD in Widescreen format with English 5.1 Dolby Surround audio and English and Spanish subtitles. The extras include a short featurette, a handful of deleted and alternate scenes (including a thirty minute alternate ending!), and the theatrical trailer. There are trailers for S. Darko,  The Haunting of Molly Hartley, The Betrayed, and Seth McFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.


85 minutes of supernatural "is he or isn't he" with little to scandalize any audience from teens up, Possession got cheated out of a theatrical run, but makes for a decent home screening. A possibly romantic, possibly supernatural guessing game that never goes (too) overboard and always looks good, it's mostly a slow-burn two-character piece that's an excellent showcase for Gellar and Pace.

I think in real life you'd shove a creepy in-law claiming to be your comatose husband away a heck of a lot harder than she does here, though.


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