The Possession of Michael King – Review
By Lynn Sorel
Rating: 7 out of 10
Synopsis: Grieving the shocking loss of his wife, Michael King (Shane Johnson), sets out to disprove the existence of the supernatural…
Our Thoughts: The Possession of Michael King is a new found footage style film with an interesting premise. An atheist tries out to prove the supernatural doesn’t exist and inadvertently proves that it is real. While much of the film is predictable, and overall I didn’t find it all that scary, strong performances from the cast and an original point of view make up for the film’s shortcomings.
After his wife dies, due to what he believes bad advice from a psychic she was consulting, Michael sets out to make a film proving that the supernatural is purely made up as a way to comfort us. He decides to focus on “the blackest of the black” magic, as he calls it, and perform demonic spells and rituals, and also have them performed on him, believing it’s all bullshit and nothing will happen to him. He interviews people who claim to have or be in contact with supernatural entities and have proof of the supernatural, starting with a particularly creepy exorcist who had contact with the devil. Next he uses a demon summoning kit he ordered off the internet to try and summon one. Failing to do so, he pays a demonologist to do it for him. Following the demon summoning, he interviews a mortician, who is also a necromancer, who proceeds to perform a ritual on him to bring a disembodied soul into his own body. Despite being a disbeliever, he starts hearing voices and losing sleep. He films himself doing unexplained things, that become creepier and creepier, until his cameraman Jordan leaves the project. Things get worse and worse as the film progresses and Michael’s sanity spirals out of control.
Peppered through out the film is footage Michael made of his family while his wife was still alive, adding an emotional charge to his situation. The film’s footage itself higher quality than most found footage style films and I think it hinders the atmosphere as a result. I didn’t find it to be all that scary. It does have a certain amount of tension and creepiness that builds, with the last quarter of the film being the strongest, but it lacks in truly scaring at least this viewer. However, the amazing performance by Shane Johnson, who is currently cast in ‘Power’ TV series, as Michael King makes up for it. His mental breakdown and progressive possession by demons is amazing. The film is a psychological thriller in addition to being demonic horror. It takes an original approach to possession that I haven’t seen before personally, despite having seen many possession films, in that it is not from the point of view of people caring for the possessed, it is the possessed himself. Most of the last third of the film is just Michael filming himself. The special effects used are effective, although not always as terrifying as they were striving for. However I did like the way they used creepy effects on his eyes as a focus of the physical possession, and contortion effects used when Michael is fighting the demon are the most effective scares of the film in my opinion.
The way the story unfolds, the viewer learns certain aspects of what happened to Michael and his family later in the film. The timing is particularly effective and it ends in such a way that wraps up the story perfectly. The first half of the film I felt that I might come away not liking it all that much, but by the end of the film I felt I had seen something very original. With such an strong storyline and acting performance by Shane Johnson, this film deserves a watch by fans of demonic horror and found footage aficionados alike.