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"Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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"Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Old 09-24-23, 11:55 PM
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"Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge



Possession (1981)




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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2023 DISCUSSION | 2023 LISTS
Old 09-24-23, 11:56 PM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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Old 10-19-23, 03:54 PM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I don't really know how to discuss this movie. The tone is just so all over the place and there is probably more symbolism and metaphors than I can count or even understand.

This is my 4th time to revisit this movie and I still can't say I completely understand it but each time it is a fascinating ride. It is a remarkably exquisite and unique piece of cinema.

The acting at first is wooden and it feels like Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani are in their first ever movie after doing summer stock theater for the last several years. But as it gets darker, the acting gets better. Maybe this is intentional? Who knows?

The over-acting when both of them lose their shit at various times in the movie almost comes across as laughable at first but then slowly turns terrorizing and realistic as it goes on and on.

The passive neglect of their son Bob bothers me like crazy. The performance by the boyfriend Heinrich has to be seen to be believed. It is daring and indescribable.

The last 20 minutes kinda goes off the rails but it appears to be on purpose. The creature...um...what the fuck?

Again, I have no idea how to discuss this movie as my above comments prove. But it is a fascinating watch. One of those movies that I can't say I love but I definitely don't dislike.

Every action, piece of dialogue, music cue, camera angle...all seem to have a purpose. But can you correctly explain its purpose? Probably not.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****
Old 10-20-23, 09:56 AM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

One thing I love about Possession is that it focuses on people and the horrors seem more metaphorical or expand the human story. It feels relatable and universal, not just about a cool killer or a queasy premise, but about the awkwardness of laying in bed with the spouse wondering what the future holds. The emotional intensity of a turbulent relationship is a great hook then suddenly there's weird body horror. The café scene with Sam Neil throwing chairs is a great display of wanton destruction and norm breaking that helps Possession creep in. One of my favor scenes is when the bum reaches into her grocery bag and casually eats her banana. Ha, my 82 year old mother lives with us (wow, not unlike Heinrich) and was watching it early on then abruptly lost interest when it got especially weird. The over acting is silly if you think about it but I feel it sells the drama well; except the Heinrich guy is too over the top (maybe dated stereotypes). I love the creature effects (if there is even really a creature at all) - they look so fake but also in an eerie way and they are just living enough. People say CGI is cheaper than practical effects but these seem pretty economical and effective. The biggest flaw with Possession is that it has so much going on - Bergman tier relationship issues, creatures, murder, etc etc.

Sam Neil and Heinrich seem to have a lot of parallels to a point when Neil is riding Heinrich's motorbike at the end they both seem disenfranchised to a point of being interchangeable (H being literally gone and Neil being despondent) - them both having previously had a wife and child, etc. Maybe not unlike Anna and the teacher seeming to have parallels I don't understand. In the end it was only Bob who understood. I chose to believe it's a film about an alien (replicant) teacher that infects the Mom who then infects the Dad to replace them both and spread; but also an apt metaphor for shared existence (since replicants aside the lover and the father are themselves both replacing one another - the soul vs the body).

Does he still wear pink socks?

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-20-23 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 10-20-23, 03:18 PM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

A masterpiece of storytelling revolving around a couple's failing relationship. An allegory for divorce.
10/10
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Old 10-20-23, 11:28 PM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This is such an intense movie, it really kept me uneasy for most of the runtime. I have three of the Zulawski Mondo DVDs, but I couldn't find Possession to save my life.
Old 10-21-23, 12:33 AM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This is not my kind of horror movie. I'm 1h20mins in and it's not horrible or anything, and I like slow or slow burn types, but this just isn't for me. Sam Neill is always lovely though. I don't think I've seen him in anything this young before.
Old 10-21-23, 09:50 AM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

My review for letterboxd:

This movie is very European and bizarre. I had to look up what it was about at the end. At the beginning, a husband and wife are separating. The fights become violent and then the wife ends up living in a secret apartment with a tentacled "thing" and murdering people. The husband begins having an affair with his son's schoolteacher who is a doppelganger for the wife. There are some very gruesome set pieces such as when the wife (Isabelle Adjani) appears to go berserk in a subway tunnel. Critics say the film is an allegory for divorce with the wife's "monster" representing her version of the idealized husband and the schoolteacher as the man's idealized version of his wife--but even these idealized caricatures are doomed in the end. Interesting but a bit too confusing and abstract for me. It also felt overly long.
2.5/5 stars

In sum, I can see why this film is admired, but I'm not a big fan.
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Old 10-21-23, 04:47 PM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge


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Old 10-26-23, 09:07 AM
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Re: "Possession" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I finished this last night. Started it the night before. Too weird for me. Not my thing at all. I'm not likely to revisit it.

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