Michael King doesn’t believe in God or the Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, he decides to make a film about the search for the existence of the supernatural, making himself the center of the experiment, allowing demonologists, necromancers, and various practitioners of the occult to try the deepest and darkest spells and rituals they can find on him, in the hopes that when they fail, he’ll once and for all have proof that religion, spiritualism, and the paranormal are nothing more than myth. But something does happen. An evil and horrifying force has taken over Michael King. And it will not let him go.
To begin on a positive note, I found “The Possession of Michael King” to be a high caliber film full of harrowing moments, bleak situations, and surprising outcomes. While I’m not entirely sure why reviews of the film range from stellar to sub-par, it is not a film that should be ignored or passed over due to something you read. The film is a keeper in my book….so please read on. Â
I tend to believe that the horror community gets weary at times of films that feel a “bit familiar” such as the outpouring of films in the “Paranormal Activity” realm (let alone its entire franchise). So for good measure let’s call this one an isolated instance that does actually get really scary at times throughout the movie. And by accounts, it is an original premise that progresses rather well.
Our character Michael King played with expert deliverance and finesse by actor Shane Johnson is a movie about a widowed husband who recently lost his wife to a fatal accident. Michael now resides with his daughter Ellie (Ella Anderson) and sister Samantha (Cara Pifko)
Our story begins as Michael takes it upon himself to create a documentary to test a theory. With the help of his friend (Michael Ray Escamilla) (who holds the camera thru most of the film), Michael challenges the idea of good and evil as a mere myth that was fabricated by man to instill a set of beliefs. The premise her is simple….seek out books, artifacts, and individuals with e intent of proving that the after life exists by introduction of testing the limits. Michael takes a very sarcastic smirk-ish approach to the materials he receives, making every effort to ,mock them as being authentic and following the instructions like a “how to” manual. The results evolve into an almost comedic based routine that has him testing out theories like a spiritual scientist. This leads him to the next phase which is placing an ad that asks for proof of evil and demons. His documentary continues as he meets with a priest, a Satanic couple and a mortician who has his own methods for contacting the dead. While each feels like a moment you might expect from a “Ghost Hunters” episode, it does begin to introduce some unsettling circumstances.
These also further catapult a possession that slowly begins to make itself known within Michael. We learn of who the demon is, what his intention is, and to what degree his power extends which makes up the brunt of the film. What I loved about this particular movie is that there is a proper period of escalation that occurs. The movie itself does play a bit longer but does so never exceeding its limit and the rate of change that is needed to convince its audience. Actor Shane Johnson does a bang up job of transforming from nice guy next door to a man under duress and change. All the while we do have a bit of that hidden camera editing going on to tell the story. The cameras placed within the house provide different views revealing all that is needed to tell the story director David Jung set out to make. You might say this is a film that Oren Peli would be proud of (if he were behind the camera).
Michael King does in a movie setting what many of us probably have thought about ourselves. This is the action of discrediting the culture and myths by sampling from the well ourselves. As a viewer, I felt at times that Michael was connected to this notion by the film’s own viewing audience that takes the journey with him rather than just being an spectator.
As a horror film, the scares are well-played and professionally executed. I would easily place this film among the “best of” scary films as a strong contender that “again” challenges that basic notion of demons, the devil and the unknown. We laugh at his discoveries and experience the revelations as he does.
As a pretty busy horror reviewer, I’m certainly glad I took the time to discover this new gem of a product. It’s got the components of a great story which paces its scares rather than shoving them down our throat. As a viewer, you may even come away from this one wondering if your experience would play out similarly if “you” were to follow in Michael steps. Lesson for today? Don’t toy with demons, you may not like what they serve in return.
The Possession Of Michael King is now available on bluray per Anchor Bay