The Possession Experiment (2016) – By Kirsten Laha-Walsh

 

“Brandon Jensen has always loved horror. So when he has the chance to study exorcisms, he decides he is going to go all out. He starts a fund raising online campaign that goes viral overnight. With the help of two people he meets along his way, Brandon shows the whole world The Possession Experiment”

“Possession Experiment” is nothing new. But then again, neither are a lot of the films that are out there today. In the horror genre, it can be difficult to compete with the high budgets and star studded casts of “Insidious”, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, or even “Scream”. It is admirable to see that there are still filmmakers who carry on horror and enjoy scaring audiences. “Possession Experiment” is a decently crafted film that has a storyline that has some thought behind it. It is a finished film, and that is something those involved can be proud of.

Aside from that, there are a lot of issues that are noticeable to anyone who has experience behind the camera. The acting is weak. While the character of Brandon Jensen (played by newbie Chris Minor) is supposed to be quirky, he twitches throughout the film, seemingly unintentionally. It is hard to focus on him as he moves around within his skin almost constantly. The other characters are definitely on par with where the film is on a technical level, but they don’t add anything strong enough into it. The script did nothing to back them up however, and could have used a few more drafts to make the dialogue sound more realistic. The characters are also not fleshed out well enough. They appear to be extremely stereotypical, which is disappointing. The secondary lead is a stoner- and appears to be somewhat sloppy, talks like a surfer, and his place just looks like a sloppy place a stoner would live. The lead is a nerd who is supposed to appear cool to the audience, so his place has nerdy attributes, etc.

From the technical aspects, the film is a typical independent film. The lighting, while doing its purpose of lighting the characters, is overtly clear. It appears that the film could have benefited from some more color correction to balance it out. The sound was mostly good, although there are pockets where the words do not match up with the images. While that does cause some issues throughout the film, I am definitely glad that the filmmakers opted to use ADR. The music is good in most places, and doesn’t really serve anything additional for the film. The editing is weak in regards to the choices of shots used in the various locations. While most of the camera work is decent, there are several shots in which it takes a second for the camera to get into the proper position, and the entire sequence is included in the film. In my opinion, the film would have benefited from some additional cutting. On the special effects spectrum, there were some neat ones- including a shocking one involving a car window roughly an hour into the film. But those cool effects are overshadowed by a lackluster storyline, acting that could have benefited from some workshopping, and technical work that could have benefited from better editing.

Ultimately, this film was a decent film, but it doesn’t stand apart in the world of indie film. While I expect it to do well upon release, I expect that it won’t last long before another exorcism film takes its place on the shelves.

Would I watch this film again? Nope. I found it difficult to keep interest in the film, and I was not invested in the main characters. Not even if it was the background movie at a Halloween party.