Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis and Matisyahu
Directed by Ole Bornedal
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences
When a divorced father (Morgan) spends time with his daughters one weekend, the youngest daughter, (Calis) buys an antique box that seems to be calling her name. Unbeknownst to the family, the box is a dybbuk, or a container of an evil spirit excised by a Rabi. As the young girl starts to become possessed, the father must figure out how to save his little girl before she is lost.
Everything outside of this film is quite frightening. The poster is scary, the trailer sends goosebumps and the “true” story it is based on will make you wish you didn’t have that knowledge floating around in your head. So how could the film not be scary? I don’t know the answer to this but it succeeds in being another completely lame demon possession movie, for which we have seen too many of late. I’m a big fan of The Exorcist and even the first two Paranormal Activity films, but since Paranormal’s wild success, these kinds of movies are so common they almost deserve their own sub-genre, and yet most of them are bad or worse.
Does the film have potential? Possibly. I think they definitely could have made it creepier. Once you’ve seen the fingers coming out of the throat in the trailer, nothing else really gets you here. Maybe if the little girl were a bit more evil instead of just strange? I’m not a horror writer, so I can’t tell you exactly how to improve the script, and if they had hired a decent horror writer this would be a much different review.
I can tell you that hiring good actors would have been a big boost to the films enjoyability. Morgan is solid as the father, but Sedgwick, Matisyahu and much of the supporting cast are just laughable. But in their defense, they didn’t have a great script to work from either.
So while it would have been nice to see a good Jewish exorcism film, I guess we’ll have to wait because this one should have been left in the box. C-