The Possession (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
Old 01-04-2013, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
Blu-ray Reviewer
Ralph Potts's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 11,922
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 959 Post(s)
Liked: 2927
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 92 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis, Madison Davenport
Directed by: Ole Bornedal
Music by: Anton Sanko
Written by: Juliet Snowden & Stiles White
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 15, 2013

"Pray for her"

Film Synopsis:

Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.

My Take:

I had the chance to check out The Possession during its theatrical release and came away liking it. The film opens by indicating that it is based on a true story which got a single eye brow raising reaction from me. I think that with horror films all we can ask is that it takes us over the threshold into its world and allows our imaginations to do the rest. Predominantly there is little variation in terms of concept when it comes to the demonic possession premise. The film’s opening is brief but effectively serves as the catalyst for the impending evil that lurks in a strange black box. What makes these films work is how effectively the characters draw you into the story.

Here the plot revolves around a family fractured by divorce. The parents have joint custody of their two daughters who primarily live with their mother and spend weekends with their father. The mother has begun to move on and the father struggles to maintain a connection with his daughters. Both parents love their children and the four of them strive to make the best of a difficult situation. Things go awry one weekend when the youngest daughter asks her father to buy her the now familiar black box which she sees while they are at a yard sale. From there things begin to escalate as her behavior is affected by what she unleashes from within the boxes confines.

What I found worked well in this story was the defining element found in the interaction between the parents, and more importantly the portrayal of the father/daughter (s) relationships. This lent an air of credibility to the proceedings as things development. At 90 minutes the pacing is spot on. There doesn’t appear to be any wasted time as the narrative builds, springing from the familial drama into the elements of suspense and horror while maintaining the underlying dramatic tone. As I alluded to earlier conceptually speaking there is nothing here to differentiate The Possession from its child possessed film brethren. It adheres to formula and clichéd supernatural references but works nonetheless thanks to likeable characters you care about and a decently creepy level of horror. I like the cast, especially young Natasha Calis and Jeffrey Dean Morgan who does a very good job in the role of Clyde, the father struggling to protect/save his daughter.

Does The Possession reinvent the genre? No, but it is a decent way to spend a rainy evening when you’re in the mood for a horror film with a little heart.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The Possession comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to bright, high gloss imagery we sometimes associate with new release films coming to Blu-ray but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. The video has a light veneer of grain that gives it a slightly gritty, film like quality that mirrors its theatrical presentation. Resolution is excellent as images are clearly rendered with appreciable detail and discerning nuance during close ups. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast don’t vary much but this goes hand in hand with the film’s purposeful look. Blacks are deep and shadow detail is crushed slightly which leaves some of the darker segments appearing less dimensional. I didn’t see any signs of compression related artifacts or extraneous video noise.

I think this is a well designed lossless audio presentation that plays well to the film’s thematic components. It effectively uses the entire sound field to elicit reaction to sounds emanating from differing vantage points based on the camera’s perspective (meaning the subject onscreen). The soundtrack is enhanced by rich clarity, punchy dynamics and robust bass that appropriately support the film’s elements of suspense/fright. Dialogue through the center channel is crystal clear and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. The beautifully crafted music permeates the listening area with its light instrumentation and superlative tonal balance. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at by this excellent soundtrack as it augments the enjoyment of this film.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Ole Bornedal

  • Audio commentary with writer’s Juliet Snowden & Stiles White

  • (HD) “The real history of the Dibbuk Box” – 13 minute documentary

  • (HD) Theatrical Trailer

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The Possession isn’t a conceptually original entry in the child-possession genre however it strikes the right chords and adds a heartwarming element that combined to make it well worth watching even this second time around. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring faithful high definition video, excellent lossless sound quality and a light supplemental package that includes a pair of filmmaker audio commentaries and a documentary on a real life “Dibbuk” box. I enjoyed The Possession and recommend that you give it a spin on Blu-ray.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviews
AVS Forum
My Home Theater
My DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray Collection
Follow me on Twitter @RalphAVSreviews
Ralph Potts is offline  
Sponsored Links
Old 01-04-2013, 09:52 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
yadfgp's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Posts: 2,263
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked: 68
I'm glad you gave this high marks, as I had been eagerly wanting to see this when I first saw the trailers. But it got somewhat panned by critics. frown.gif

You and I tend to see eye to eye on almost all flicks, so this is great. Aside from that little Looper blooper the other day, wink.gif where I totally disagreed with your take on that 1 at first. But the replacement blu ray disc disc came in and I did a quick 180 on that 1. biggrin.gif

Uh oh, I just noticed this is a Lionsgate release. I hope us NF'ers don't get shortchanged on the audio on this 1! mad.gif

Although... I did watch Arbitrage. And that's a Lionsgate release. I was worried when I noticed that when the opening credits started up. But then relieved to see that there was a DTS-HD soundtrack included. biggrin.gif

So maybe Lionsgate has stopped with the exclusion of HD audio from their rentals?
yadfgp is offline  
Old 01-05-2013, 06:33 AM
Ilya Volk's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Belarus
Posts: 196
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
I watched this movie in theater and found it awful. It was more like comedy than a horror. Yes, the characters are ok, but the story is silly.
Ilya Volk is offline  
Old 01-05-2013, 03:52 PM
Senior Member
gridbug's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 235
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 18
The actual story of the real dybbuk box is pretty crazy, if true... not sure this version needed the "possession" angle to tell what's already a pretty solid tale. That said, perfectly serviceable attempt here that utilizes a low-key system of delivery that shies away from the in your face horror and instead plays out small moments, most of which have pretty effective payoffs. Better than I thought it'd be, but not quite a slam dunk. For what it's worth, be sure to google the dybbuk box to get the background on the mystery, which is as yet unsolved.

gridbug is offline  
Old 01-06-2013, 12:03 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
DJ Matt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Portage, WI
Posts: 1,772
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Liked: 15
I was almost certain this would get a bad rating based on new release horror movies that release on video in January. In recent years there have been some bad ones. I am definitely looking forward to this one though.
DJ Matt is offline  
Old 01-06-2013, 05:22 PM
Lt.Aldo.Raine's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 79
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Originally Posted by Ilya Volk View Post

I watched this movie in theater and found it awful. It was more like comedy than a horror. Yes, the characters are ok, but the story is silly.

We must have watched a different movie if you found this to be more of a comedy than a horror flick........... "The story is silly" Well it is a movie about a possession i am not sure if i would cal it silly rolleyes.gif I personally like this movie and is one better made horror flicks to come out in 2012.

Lt.Aldo.Raine is offline  
Old 01-06-2013, 07:13 PM
club968's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 150
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 24
I would have written this movie off completely had I not read this review. As it is, I guess I will give it a chance.....a rental chance.
club968 is offline  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:31 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
rboster's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 20,261
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 896 Post(s)
Liked: 749
I was neutral on the movie after my son and I saw it in the theater. I will give it a second viewing at home (something tells me it will play better in a smaller enviroment vs a big theater). I did buy a copy of the book that the movie was based wife is going to read it first, but I am interested in hearing the "real" story.

Retired Moderator

FS: APC J10 Home Theater Conditioner/UPS back up $100:
rboster is online now  
Sponsored Links

Blu Ray Movies , The Possession Blu Ray Digital Copy Ultraviolet
Thread Tools

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off