College student Hee-jin returns home when her 14-year-old sister So-jin goes missing. Her mother, a fanatic churchgoer resorts to prayer and refuses to work with the police to find So-jin. Meanwhile, a neighbour commits suicide and leaves a will for So-jin and Hee-jin hears rumours that her sister had been possessed. The whereabouts of So-jin becomes increasingly elusive and the dead neighbour begins appearing in Hee-jin's dreams...
The tales of the creepy possession had seen quite a few incarnation in the demonic cinema industry. There are forceful possession that required equally forcefully exorcism (like The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose), there are the quick evil teleporter (like Fallen and the recent Rule No.1 by our very own Kelvin Tong) and then there's Possessed, otherwise known as Distrust Hell (literal translation from the Korean movie title) or Faith with it's own blend of the demonic possession and other forms of possession.
Possessed's tale commence when a 14 year old girl So-jin disappeared from her home. Her Christian fanatic Mom called her sister Hee-jin back for help but adamantly refused to accept any help from the police that the helpless Hee-jin seek. Together with a police detective who is having his own set of family problem, they soon discover that this is no ordinary disappearance. The neighbors came forth with their respective pieces of the puzzle on what might had happen. To make matter worse, the neighbors started dying in various grotesque and inexplicably manners. The strange occurrence also started taking it's toll on the police detective and Hee-jin.
The thing about good horror material would be that they leave the audience thinking about the characters fate and what transpired between them (like the Sixth Sense and Ringu). Possessed is one such horror that leaves the audience with some bits to contemplate after the movie is over.
The highlight of this movie didn't lie entirely on the supernatural possession itself. That's not to say that it lacks the scare factors. Possessed delivers the unforgettable spooky scenes and scare-a-moment sparingly. It's effective as it does not overwhelm the audience and allows them to feel for the characters. The main horror that this movie attempted to tackle would be the choices that we make.
It takes on issues of human traits such as self preservation and the extend of delusion that one could go to when facing great distress. Using one poor girl's unfortunate possession by evil spirit, it explores how people could be blinded by their superstition and religious beliefs. It also skillfully dissect the problems with religion and superstition without going out to bash it.
Possessed is a story of possession told in twofold. One dealt with demonic possession and the other dealt with the sinful nature of human characteristic. Both are equally scarier but since one is more plausible than the other in reality, I would say that the darkness in human nature was the highlight in this movie. Highly recommended.
Like many other horror movies, Possessed used sound effects and dark shadows to create the scares. This DVD did a fine job in reproducing those scary moments on a normal TV.
Review by Richard Lim Jr
Posted on 26 April 2010