Possession DVD Review
Directed by Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist
Written by Michael Petroni and Won-mi Byun
2008, Region 2 (PAL), 80 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 16th April 2012
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Jess
Lee Pace as Roman
Michael Landes as Ryan
Tuva Novotny as Casey
Buffy’s all grown up; married, smoking and shagging, with a disappointing lack of nudity. Completed in 2007, but consigned to distribution limbo due to distributor bankruptcy problems, this perfunctory psychological thriller dances deftly through its paces, but ultimately offers little to remember it by. Like her previous appearance in US remake The Grudge, Sarah Michelle Gellar this time is the star of this American adaptation of the Korean film Addicted.
Men, be warned: if you watch this film with your better-half she’ll give you sideways glances and tut while you examine the contents of your nose at the end of the sofa. Michael Landes, or the sickeningly perfect Ryan as he’s known here, is the soul mate of Jess (Gellar). He leaves her a love-letter every day, fresh roses in her briefcase and generally fawns over his beloved like a wet-nosed puppy dog. While Jess appreciates the attention, she does little to reciprocate because she has a busy and important job. It’s never really revealed what the job is, but it involves looking at crime files in a dimly lit room.
The fly in the couple’s perfect-life ointment is Ryan’s brother Roman, who’s been bunking in the spare room since his release from prison 18 months previously. He’s an archetypal tattooed bad-boy who gives Jess the creeps. When his presence in their home becomes untenable, he overhears Ryan and Jess arguing about him and takes off at speed in his car. Ryan gives chase and the two are involved in a pile-up that puts both of them in a coma.
After an extended period of intensive care, one of the brothers wakes up and Jess is disappointed to discover that it is Roman and not her beloved husband. But when Roman returns home, he displays character traits and has intimate details of the couple’s relationship that only Ryan could know. Could it be true? Could Ryan’s love for Jess have transcended his physical being? Watch the film and you’ll guess well in advance of the ending.
Possession scores points for not going the way of a sinister Freaky Friday (or 17 Again if you prefer your body swap comedy with more High School Musical references and less Halloween). Ryan, poor old sod, never comes back as a bad-boy who enjoys rough hanky panky and secretly covets his brother’s woman. Good thing too, as it would have ruined any credibility the film might otherwise have had. As psychological thrillers go, it’s not bad although very much a join-the-dots affair. Anyone who doesn’t see the reveal coming has never seen an is-he-bad-is-he-good? plot before. In fact, if you don’t see what’s coming in Possession, then I’d wager you’ve probably never seen any films before – in which case, it’s not a bad jumping in point.
The cast is solid across the board and individuals put in some respectable performances. It’s hard to accept the diminutive Sarah Michelle Gellar as a grown woman, and while her features are starting to bear witness to the fact she’s in her mid-thirties, she’s still that high-school kid who lives on the hell mouth. To me, anyway.
Possession is the kind of film you’d probably stumble across on late-night TV, just as you’re channel hopping before going to bed. Its premise and execution are interesting enough to hook you in and keep you invested, just to see if your assumptions will ring true. Ultimately though, it will have you asking, “Did I really stay up for that?”
Video and Audio:
The 16:9 (1.77:1) video is fine throughout and stable during the night scenes. The 5.1 audio track is functional, but does little to impress.
Just a trailer.