THE POSSESSION EXPERIMENT *** USA 2016 Dir: Scott B Hansen 81 mins
The enjoyably overwrought tone of this slick addition to the over-saturated possession sub-genre is set by a visceral exorcism opening, in which Priest Bill Moseley battles against a demon-possessed young woman yelling “Fuck me! Fuck me!” before she instigates a massacre.
Twenty years on, theology student Chris Minor is doing his final thesis on the ritual of exorcism and, having found video clips of the earlier case online, sets out to find the cameraman and conjure a demon into his own body(!). Another conventionally shot movie that incorporates “found footage” into its narrative, this is also probably the first horror flick in which a seemingly smart, rational protagonist crowd-funds his own demon possession for the purpose of documentation. Director Hansen has fun with cutaways to typical giggling viewers watching Minor’s online broadcast, and the high body count yields plenty of gore, including a MIRRORS-inspired jaw-ripping and a cheerfully blatant Freddy Krueger-styled rampage in the final half-hour. It’s played straight for scares and shocks, though the most appealing elements are the unintentionally hilarious performances by the older cast members (notably Minor’s ill-fared mom and Basil Exposition dad), and the outrageous soap opera / EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-style plot twist heralded by the line “I’m not your birth father!” It’s undeniably silly, but eager to please and never dull.
Review by Steven West