Movie Review - The Possession of Michael King
Yet another 'found footage' film and another possession film, in a year with no shortage of either, The Possession of Michael King sets itself apart from the others in its' brash filming style and the intensity of lead actor, Shane Johnson. The first act of the film is nearly perfect and provides some genuinely disturbing moments which build toward an intense second act that manages to imbue the viewer with a sense of paranoia and dread. There are a few minor missteps in the film, primarily in the third act when the film resorts to some tired tropes that are becoming overused in supernatural films. But overall this is an extremely well made movie, and one that I would highly recommend. The Possession of Michael King is now available on VOD and DVD, go check it out. It'll probably make yo throw those Tarot Cards away....
Michael King is a documentary film maker, whose wife's untimely death leaves him desperate and angry. Placing the blame on a Tarot Card reader, who he believes is ultimately responsible for the circumstances leading to her passing, he sets out on a mission to disprove the existence of the occult and the supernatural. After a few failed experiments with Ouija Boards, candles and incense, he places an ad asking for proof of the supernatural and his skepticism is met with a massive response. He then goes on a journey through the many facets of black magic and occult rituals from conjuring to necromancy with the help of demonologists and a mortician. After a few extreme experiences with rituals involving hallucinogenic drugs, Michael begins to feel less and less in control of himself. Is it the residual effect of the drugs that are making him hear voices, or could he have been wrong about the existence of the supernatural all along?
There really aren't enough good things to day about the performance of lead actor, Shane Johnson. It is quite the accomplishment to rise to the challenge of carrying an entire movie on your shoulders, and he does so ably. He manages to successfully convey the anger and desperation of a man who feels he has lost everything. In the first act of the film, he exudes both rage and despair flawlessly. As the film goes on, he shows a wide range of emotion as he begins to experience changes within himself following his encounters with black magic. And Johnson belies every one of them with the strength of a seasoned pro. He is the backbone of the entire film.
First time writer and director, David Jung, really does a commendable job of fusing the possession film with the found footage style. Though the story itself may not be the most original take on either of the genres, his striking filming technique definitely sets the perfect tone for the action of the movie. I was actually shocked to find out that this was his first feature length movie, as he shows a maturity that is rare in a newcomer. I only had a few small complaints about the film, the first of which was the conceit that when in a 'possessed' state, Michael King would pick up a camera and film himself. I understand the shots are necessary to establish his actions at night, but there were also cameras placed around the house that could have served the same purpose. I think seeing characters being dragged around by invisible forces is getting a little bit old, and I also didn't think the choice to let the audience hear the 'voices' in his head made sense, but perhaps I am nitpicking. None of that is to say that I didn't enjoy this film. In fact it's one of the best horror films I have seen all year, and definitely worth checking out. Happy viewing and Cheers.
- Leo Francis