Friday, August 30, 2013

Film Review: The Possession in Japan (2011)

The Possession in Japan (Review)
Japan/2011
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the film lacks the character, depth, and creativity necessary for an effective horror film."

Mistakenly diagnosed as schizophrenic, 20-year-old Lisa and her family have been fighting a vicious demonic possession; Lisa has been tied to her bed at the recommendation of a former doctor and has taken abundant medicine -- but it hasn't worked. However, with the help of a Father, they may be able to save Lisa.

The Possession in Japan follows a very familiar path. It doesn't explain her treatment or possession as you are dropped right into it -- we never meet Lisa. A priest recognizes the signs of possession and requests an exorcism; he has a reluctant friend that may be of assistance, but has quit due to his past failure. This reluctant friend, however, eventually has a change of heart. A final exorcism is performed that explains the possession and its roots, and delivers a solid twist. But, by then, you'll already be drained from the cliché-filled plot and unnecessarily long run time. (and it's only an hour and twenty minutes long!)

The story doesn't try to be original or innovative. There is no character or depth. Therefore, the supernatural, scientific, and religious aspects of the film are ineffective -- the thought-provocation is nonexistent; you never wonder if it's an illness or a possession. Also, without character, the film lacks overall impact -- I couldn't care for Lisa or her family because they have no character. And, without impact or creativity, the film lacks the terror needed to make a great horror film, or a horror film at all, for that matter. There are some solid special effects, but there are also some terrible visuals, as well. There isn't anything shocking or disturbing -- Lisa's growls sound more like she's powering up a kamehameha wave rather than a vicious demon. Like Lisa's demon says, "It was a waste of time!"

The acting was okay. There were some moments of hilarity due to the overacting and cringe-worthy delivery, but it was mostly competent. The music was good, although it was occasionally ill-fitted. The visual effects ranged from good to bad; I liked the visual effects at the end, but a certain explosion was weak. I'm not looking for a big-budget film, hell, Graceland is close to masterpiece status and that has a microscopic budget in today's age, so I can't forgive it for looking cheap; horror is supposed to excel with lower budgets through practical effects and clever writing - this has neither.

Overall, The Possession in Japan isn't a good film. I like certain parts of the ending, as well as the possession explanation, and the younger sister adds some emotion to the story, but the film lacks the character, depth, and creativity necessary for an effective horror film. It's also unnecessarily long -- it really could've been cut to an hour -- and uneventful. Hardcore possession fans should rent, everyone else should wait for streaming.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some disturbing visuals.

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