Written by: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Remember when the idea of an Asian horror film getting remade in the U.S. was unique and exciting? Remember when Sarah Michelle Gellar’s appearance in a horror movie was a welcome burst of star power and eye candy (for the men, at least) to the genre? Those days are long past. It seems like every horror movie released these days had a better prior life across the Pacific, and if it weren’t for these bad adaptations, Gellar would be spending her time attending Buffy reunions and conventions. Next up for the former vampire slayer: Possession, a horror film based on the Korean movie Addicted. After several delays, Possession has finally announced a release date in October of this year. These are all simply awful signs for its quality, and based on the script, this movie is going to be exactly what you’d imagine: fucking terrible.
Possession follows the story of recently married couple Jess (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Ryan (Michael Landes). Jess is your typical big businesswoman and Ryan is a sculptor and all around perfect husband you can only find in a movie. They also have an uninvited houseguest in Ryan’s kid brother Roman (Lee Pace). Roman is always creeping in dark corners and has some sort of criminal past that is only referred to by his brother as “a bad rap.” The story gets going on the Golden Gate Bridge, when the brothers hit each other in a head on collision. Both are in comas but only Roman wakes up, convinced he is Ryan. This is a mindfuck of epic proportions for Jess, who now has to live with Roman and his constant need to bond with “his wife.” Thus sets off 90 minutes (the script is really short so I’m assuming 90) of twists upon twists to figure out if Roman is a liar or if he is indeed in the throes of…possession!
The trailer is out for this and on first glance it just seems like the Nicole Kidman thriller Birth in reverse; instead of a kid thinking he’s the woman’s husband you have the evil kid brother instead.
Movies like this do have potential, in that it’s always a bit titillating to wonder if the creepy character is lying or now, and for that reason this movie could have been good…if it were released five years ago, before it had already been done a dozen times before. Within the first 20 pages I knew exactly how this movie would end, which really isn’t the ideal way to set up a “thriller.” The movie also suffers from incredibly bad clichés. You have the character of Jess who is a businesswoman who doesn’t want kids but her romantic husband does. These characters are so extreme in their portrayals they never seem real. Roman looks to be a fun villain to watch but he’s way too shallow. You never know what crime he did in the past only that it was serious. In reading the script I never felt a connection with any of the characters or felt any emotion for the situation they’re in. It almost felt like the writers were trying to make a family drama involving the a woman and her brother-in-law, but at the last second they needed to make it into a “psychological thriller.”
The point is that a movie like this is going to need some strong performances to get over the hurdles it faces. In watching the trailer though, this seems highly unlikely. It seems clear that Gellar is going to spend the entire movie acting angry/sad, pouting or running. The character in the script doesn’t call for Meryl Streep-like acting, but the character is highly conflicted and I just don’t see Gellar giving the emotion that is required, if anything I would have seen more of a Kate Beckinsale in the role. The highlight in reading the script for me was Lee Pace’s character Roman. Any fans of Pushing Daisies expecting to see the sweet, sappy piemaker will be in for a disappointment since Roman is a fun villain. I personally can’t wait to see Ned the piemaker groping chicks and cursing like a sailor (while staying PG-13 of course). I just don’t think though this will be something he’s putting on his resume at the end of the day since his character is really a caricature of other villains.
All in all, Possession has a chance to be something of a guilty pleasure, and another horror film for those of you out there desperate for a fix. Label this one as a notch above The Eye but far below The Ring. You’ve been warned.
Author: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Kristen Lopez is the editor-in-chief of CC2K and a freelance pop culture essayist. Her work has appeared on Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Beast. When she’s not burning down Film Twitter she runs two podcasts, the female-centric film show Citizen Dame, and the classic film-themed Ticklish Business.