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The Possession
Rating
Opens Opens May 25, 2013

If you wanted a textbook example of a three-star film, “Possession” would probably be it. There’s nothing particularly original about this “Exorcist”-styled tale of a young girl possessed by a demon, and yet it delivers its share of frights with a certain flair. The presence of Sam Raimi as producer is telling, for Danish director Ole Bornedal’s work here clearly resembles Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell” in both its story — young American girl afflicted by old European curse — and its desire to put insects inside its heroine’s body.

Many are the ways one can invite one’s own doom in horror movies — whether it’s reading aloud from “The Book of the Dead” or getting on elevators with Michael Caine in drag — but “The Possession” boasts the most prosaic ever: buying an old box at a garage sale. When tween Em (Natasha Calis) sees a funky wooden box with cryptic Judaic inscriptions engraved on it, she has to have it, and her father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — guilt-tripping due to his recent divorce and estrangement from his daughters — is more than happy to buy it for her. Later that night, Em manages to open the latchless box and finds some creepy stuff within, strange enough to make even a Goth girl cringe. Soon enough, bad stuff starts to happen, much of it involving moths, and given the prevalence of mottephobia among friends of mine in Japan, this may seriously impact box office. (G.F.)

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