A twisted film about demonic possession that truly frightens
Jaded horror veterans are in for a terrifying treat. The Possession of Michael King is one of the scariest new films made this decade. Demonic possession has always been a popular film subject since The Exorcist. Expectations were low for a movie with the tagline “from the producers of White Noise and The Haunting in Connecticut.” A taut paranormal thrill-ride, it’s an intense look into the occult with disturbing results. This is a real horror movie aimed at true fans. Director David Jung has crafted a truly frightening experience in an age of watered-down Hollywood frights.
Michael King (Shane Johnson) is a documentary filmmaker grieving after the sudden loss of his wife, Samantha. A man that doesn’t believe in the Devil or the supernatural, he works through his grief by making a film disproving their existence. Michael visits demonologists, necromancers, and a dying priest claiming he’s made a deal with the Devil. Michael decides to prove once and for all everything these people believe is pure hokum, so he experiences the darkest spells and occult practices he can find. By filming these rituals with Jordan (Jed Rees), his cameraman, Michael wants to show everyone they have no real effect.
Michael has a daughter and sister who become entangled in his experiments with the other side. Ella Anderson plays the youngest girl, Ellie. Michael thinks it is normal childhood development when she complains of a monster visiting her dreams. The creepy things Michael has been encountering begin to visibly affect him, proving that it is not such a good idea to invoke demons with practicing Satanists.
As Michael falls deeper and deeper into the world of the occult, disturbing events occur in his own home and begin to seriously threaten his remaining family. The Possession Of Michael King keeps the scariest scenes coming at a frequent pace. While some set-ups are derivative, the jump scares are rather impressive. I’ve seen most films in this genre and this is definitely one that doesn’t hold back and inserts some unique new twists. It has some of the most effective sound design in recent memory with a soundtrack that lulls you to sleep until it hits you over the head at the right moment.
Hollywood has greatly changed horror in recent times from its halcyon days. A lot of it has been watered-down to appease the PG-13 rating and that audience. The Possession of Michael King is a true shocker with the occasional disturbing scene. The R-rated film should be the perfect film for a dark, stormy night.
Anchor Bay/Starz has given this digitally-shot movie a perfect presentation on Blu-ray. Filmed using the Arri Alexa (and a couple of others), this is polished digital video with manifest picture quality. Carrying no special features on the BD-25, the 83-minute main feature is encoded in AVC at excellent parameters, averaging 29.37 Mbps. Simply put, it’s flawless work that captures every fine detail found on the Digital Intermediate without artifacts. The film is presented in its intended aspect ratio at 1.78:1 with brilliant resolution.
While technically one could include this movie under the rubric of found-footage, director David Jung is not a slave to their conventions. The image is pristine and sharp, possessing definition far beyond most in the category. The occasional gritty sequence shows up with a bit more texture and noise, but it is always done for the purposes of the story.
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does a fantastic job setting the appropriate mood and creating an edge the film may not otherwise have without it. Some of the film’s scariest moments occur when the audio explodes from nowhere. This is a mix that uses the entire soundfield with substantial presence, including effective surround channels. The quieter scenes have clear, concise dialogue in a steady approach. Its sound design is remarkably effective in creating a truly menacing atmosphere. Mastered and recorded in pleasing fidelity, this is a winning effort. For those with sensitive ears, this is a soundtrack with a large dynamic range. Keeping the volume down a notch for those explosive audio scenes is probably wise.
Provided subtitle options include Spanish and English SDH in a white font.
The combo pack aspect provides all the bonuses here, no special features have been included. I haven’t seen a disc this empty in some time, it doesn’t even include promotional trailers for other films. It does not appear they made a slipcover for this release.
It does include a DVD version and an UltraViolet digital copy, redeemable on VUDU good for a HDX copy.
[xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.
Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.