THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING DVD (2014)
SYNOPSIS: Michael King (Shane Johnson), who doesn't believe in God or the Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, Michael decides to make his next 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 prove 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.
Grief provides the excuse for this found-footage exorcism horror, which sees a documentary filmmaker named Michael King tempt God (and the devil) by inviting demonic spirits to possess him. Yes, following the tragic death of his wife in a car accident, Michael turns to necromancers and demonologists, determined to summon whatever dark forces are out there in the world to prove their existence to him. As you might imagine, he gets what he wishes for, or perhaps more, which screenwriter/ director David Jung dutifully captures from Michael’s p.o.v.
To be frank, we’ve seen enough novice filmmakers try to overcome their budgetary constraints (and lack of creative talent, in some cases) to be immediately wary whenever another of such low-budget shockers come along. In the case of ‘The Possession of Michael King’, that skepticism is completely warranted, as the Korean-American filmmaker’s debut feature film proves utterly tepid and inept - no wonder then that though it had a brief run in our local theatres, it was consigned straight to VOD in most other territories.
Indeed, there is nothing here that we haven’t seen done better in other horror movies, but even as a standard-issue B-grade horror, it fails to deliver. A satanic ritual in which two demonologists manage to summon a demon who is apparently the commander of a legion of lesser demons forms the starting point of his possession, which is further unleashed when he seeks a necromancer to talk to the dead. From perpetually bloodshot eyes to frequent bouts of bad temper to an attachment with bugs and ultimately to murdering the family dog in his sleep, Jung goes through the playbook without so much as making each transformation count.
He is also undermined by a distinct lack of discipline in his filming method. We get that Michael is holding a handycam to document his own possession, but when Michael manages to maintain that perspective throughout a full meltdown, now that simply defies belief. Just as sloppy is how Jung switches between shakycam and well-composed master shots, the latter of which tend to be from wall-mounted cameras which put the audience so far away from the action on the screen that it doesn’t seem to matter whether Michael is being thrown or dragged or lifted up by some invisible force in his house.
If anything, this should be a lesson in itself for budding filmmakers who has no doubt been inspired by Jason Blum’s brand of low-budget horror. Though there are economies of scale to be found in the found-footage technique, it is after all a technique, and some that still demands both skill and inspiration from the filmmaker. None of that is on display here - and you’d be advised to watch yet another re-run of ‘The Exorcist’ if you’re truly in need of a horror fix.
The audio track is decent while visuals are grainy because of the filmmaking.
DVD RATING :
Review by Gabriel Chong