Film Review: The Possession of Michael King (2004)


It would appear that naming a film about demonic possession is as easy as simply finding the next person to be possessed, the template simply being "The Possession of (Insert Name Here). The Possession of Michael King was one of several such titles and followed a man named Michael who was grieving the sudden loss of his wife who died in a freak car accident. As a means of coming to grips with his beloved's death, Michael set off to gain proof of the afterlife in what one can only imagine was a means of gaining satisfactory evidence that his wife endured even after her death, or prove that there is no justification or deeper meaning to our tragedies.

Shot as a found footage film in 2014, Michael would go on to kit himself out with various cameras both on his person and throughout his house in an attempt to catch any substantial evidence of the supernatural and the means upon which he hoped to bring it about. Michael would go on to seek the assistance of anyone claiming to be an expert on the subject matter, from a dying Catholic priest to demonologists and even a mortician, Michael would open himself up to everything and anything, not truly understanding the danger he would be putting himself in.

What was originally just a clear desperate cry for help and merely a means of coming to grips with his tragedy, Michaels activities would spiral out of control and result in an actual possession which would go on to threaten his very sanity, his overall well-being, and the well-being of his sister and daughter. Like anything in life, getting in is always the easy part; the getting out is where it becomes difficult. Michael would find himself in a vicious battle with a malevolent entity hell-bent on destroying everything that he held dear, and while similar films have often had exorcists to provide a helping hand, Michael found himself truly alone in his supernatural conflict.

The film builds at a satisfactory pace, following the typical formula, which gradually breaks audiences into the horror slowly before plunging them deep into the abyss. Michael's tragedy is one that creates a sense of sympathy for a man who never truly wanted what he was asking for, so evident in the manner in which he would attempt to both debunk and rationalize anything that could be classified as paranormal. The real strength of the found footage genre is the effective means of blurring the lines between fact and fiction and is genuinely solid in its ability to create a sinister tone that leaves audiences holding their breath for something to be caught on one of the cameras, anticipation building up to the unexpected scares and the disturbing scenes.

I felt the film was good in its structuring and editing, creating a justified means for recording a person's life, which is always an important aspect of the found footage genre, their simply needs to be a believable scenario that warrants carrying a camera everywhere with you. The slow decline of Michael evoked a feeling of satisfaction from the cinematic point of view, but also a sense of sadness for a man who had lost so much and did not honestly think that his actions could have the consequence that they would eventually have. While the victim of possession takes center stage, another important element is the actual identity of the entity that takes up residence in them. While Pazuzu was the star of the show in The Exorcist, and Emily Rose had an entire demon party inside of her, the entity inside Michael brought something a tad different to the proceedings, even if it still showcased the playfully sadistic characteristics of Pazuzu. The Possession of Michael is a lesson in not scratching in places where it doesn't itch, and while it might not succeed in scaring the hardest of horror enthusiasts, it still felt a lot better in both its angle and execution compared to similar films of the same genre.

The Good

  • Good angle for the possession theme.

  • Satisfactory justification for found footage film.

  • Intriguing supporting cast.

  • Good structure.

The Bad

  • Another possession film.

  • Bad production in places.

  • A little too surreal and upfront at times.

Is this the kind of film you'd be interested in? Or what were your thoughts on the film as a whole? Let me know in the comments :). Happy viewing.

More Info:

Watch:The Possession of Michael King

Score: AA

Out of 10: 7

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