Before hitting the big time with his Spider Man movies, Sam Raimi was known as the guy who made Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, and Darkman so it makes sense that he would stay involved in the horror genre. Listed as a producer for The Possession, you definitely see his influence although he leaves the directing duties to Ole Bornedal who gives a valiant attempt at creating yet another movie about a young girl who is possessed by an evil demon.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Clyde who is a college basketball coach and a father of two girls from a recently broken marriage. While his coaching abilities may be giving him some great opportunities, he is realizing that being a single parent may be an even bigger challenge. This is complicated even further when his youngest daughter Em (Natasha Calis) begins to exhibit some very strange behaviors after she grows attached to a mysterious antique box that she found at a yard sale.
With Em falling more and more under the spell of the box and its contents, Clyde does some research and begins to discover that his little girl may be turning in to something very evil and begins to look for a way to cure her. At first he attempts to get rid of the box, but this just causes Em to lash out at him and others around her until she finds it again. With little time to waste, Clyde must find someone to help him before he loses his daughter forever.
As I was saying earlier, this is not a story we haven't seen before under various incarnations and, even though this is (very loosely) based on actual events, its hard for a movie like this to seem redundant and just plain tired. While there was definitely a feeling of "been there, done that" throughout the whole movie, it still managed to be an entertaining story with the interactions between the family members being the real highlight. Morgan is actually quite good as a man trying his best to be a good father under circumstances that go from being mildly extreme to off the charts crazy over the course of the movie while Kyra Sedgwick is equally up to the task of playing the ex wife Stephanie.
Of course, for a movie like this to work, the director must find a way to draw out believable performances from the child actors and, although I liked the sisters Em and Hannah (Madison Davenport), they never really blew me away as they were just sort of there. Couple that with a movie that doesn't really provide more than one or two scary moments and it begins to fall in to B movie mediocrity.
What surprised me about this movie was that I really liked the family drama that was unfolding before all the paranormal stuff started kicking in. The characters were fun and there were some very good moments of both serious drama and lighthearted comedy, but once eyeballs started rolling back and fingers started reaching up out of people's throats, it all just became predictable and not really worth the effort. I just wonder if Raimi had been in the director's chair himself, he would have been able to give us something much scarier and more entertaining like he did with "Drag Me to Hell".