The Possession of Michael King (2014) – Review

 

David Jung’s found-footage paranormal horror is just another proof of how deeply infected the genre is by the “documentary” virus. The lead protagonist with the ridiculously alluring voice goes from absolute disbelief to total destruction, as his eerie project to summon the Devil goes out of control.

Michael King (Shane Johnson) is a warm-blooded skeptic with a clear – and cynical – disbelief towards everything spiritual and religious. However, the sudden death of his beloved wife Sam (Cara Pifko) leaves him desperate and alone, while his everyday life becomes a constant struggle to raise his young daughter Ellie (Ella Anderson) and cope with his tragic loss.

In order to soothe his pain and move on, this caustic filmmaker sets out to make a documentary hoping to prove – or better yet, disprove – the existence of the Devil. After contacting a bunch of so called “experts” and shortly after witnessing some particularly weird summoning methods, Michael begins to feel the dark change coming.

And that’s when we realize that this film is far from being groundbreaking. The symptoms of his possession tick all the boxes. Bone cracking sounds, check. Insomnia and exhaustion, check. Pale-looking skin, check. Hellish voices, check.

The possession process takes quite a bit of time, and unfortunately for us, it is a cliché ridden process. What’s refreshing, though, is that Michael is all by himself during this devilish torture and, unlike in such films, there are no exorcists or other little helpers to help him get rid of the demon.

Since the demon is not willing to let him die before he completes his Master’s evil plans and at the same time there’s no one to perform an exorcism, it makes you wonder: How on earth is this movie going to end? Unfortunately, David Jung’s finale is not particularly satisfying and one might feel that the ending left the movie in limbo. Before we get to the ending, though, Michael’s possession gives us several minutes of bloodshed and physical – as well as mental – torture.

What’s disappointing about movies like this is how creatively uninspired they seem, as we get to see the same tricks pulled over and over again. Just a small spoiler here, but who made the “lets-have-the-possessed-guy-kill-his-dog” trope such a trend? In all honesty, it’s not even that good, so to all creators out there you might as well drop it.

It’s really important, and I can’t say this enough, that directors/screenwriters need to dig a little deeper when it comes to creating a horror movie in such a saturated genre. The market is overwhelmed by found-footage horror and overwrought paranormal activities, so let’s only hope that the next The Possession of “X” will at least raise the bar of originality.

And to quote Joe E. Brown in Some Like it Hot: Well, nobody’s perfect. Neither is The Possession of Michael King. 5/10

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2 Responses to “The Possession of Michael King (2014) – Review”
  1. I had reviewed this a while back and had mixed feelings about it. The one thing I did like was the demon of bugs/insects which I had learned about in my studies of demonology. So there are some original points to this film, but as you said, they get marred by the usual FF film cliche’s.

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