Friday, November 14, 2014

Film Review: The Possession of Michael King (2014)

The Possession of Michael King (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant Video (Rental)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Do you like possession films? And, do you like loud-noise jump scares?"

After his wife passes away, filmmaker Michael King (Shane Johnson) sets out to disprove God and the Devil by documenting his supernatural experiments...

The Possession of Michael King is a fairly simple film. The story follows Michael as he documents his experiments with the supernatural, particularly black magic and such. Michael interviews people with experience on the subject and participates in some of the experiments. Particularly, Michael attempts to summon a demon using several bizarre methods. Eventually, Michael begins to question his sanity as he witnesses the unexplainable and begins to lose control of himself. It becomes hectic during the climax, but it oddly felt like it was wandering; it was aimlessly shooting for any ending. The story is very familiar but more than competent. I liked it.

Now, I think the horror will be the most polarizing aspect of the film. It boils down to two questions: Do you like possession films? And, do you like loud-noise jump scares? As long as you don't hate either of these, I think you'll find some enjoyment in this film. Otherwise, this film may not be your cup of Joe. You see, Michael King is very reliant on sudden jump-scares. In fact, most of the "horror" in this film is jump-scares. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially for a single viewing, but it becomes detrimental when the buildup is nonexistent. Some of these jump-scares come from out of nowhere. There's no suspense or buildup, just a sudden loud-noise.

Like I said, though, if that's your preferred method of horror, you'll enjoy this film. Although I'm not the biggest fan of jump-scares, I did enjoy some of these. I won't lose any sleep at night, but I had fun. I suppose that's the best way to describe this type of horror: fun. It won't be so fun if you watch it again immediately after because you'll know when to expect the jump-scares, but it's fun for the time being. (i.e. Not bad for a rental.) As for other types of horror, there were two or three genuinely creepy scenes and some interesting possession scenes.

The acting was all-around good. Shane Johnson does very well as the lead. The supporting cast also offer great performances. I had no complaints for the acting. The film is shot well, especially for a found-footage/mockumentary film. This is one of the rare found-footage films that avoids the disastrous shaky-cam most of the time. (Thank you!) I liked the audio distortion the film occasionally uses, it worked well for some scares. This is directed and written for the screen by David Jung, and it serves as his debut. Aside from the over-reliance on jump-scares, this film was enjoyable. It's not a technically flawed film per se, but it is somewhat disappointing and it falls the one-trick-pony category. In other words, I'd like to see more from David Jung, especially if he expands his palette.

Overall, The Possession of Michael King is a good horror film. It may not have a lot of atmosphere or suspense, but it has plenty of jump-scares and some decent possession elements. It's definitely better than The Devil Inside, which shares a similar plot and style. Ultimately, if you enjoy possession films and don't mind jump-scares, this is definitely worth a rental. (I rented it for $0.99 from Amazon and I don't regret it.)

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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