The Possession of Michael King Blu-ray Review
It seems like every few months, another movie about possessions and the paranormal comes out. The latest (although another could have hit DVD and Blu-ray by the time this review is published) is THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING, about, well, both.
Michael King (Shane Johnson, 2013’s CHEZ UPSHAW) is a documentarian and, according to his wife, “camera addict.” He’s also a skeptic and has no belief in either God or the Devil. He goes to a psychic named Beverly (Dale Dickey, who recently played Cummie Barrow on the miniseries BONNIE AND CLYDE) and challenges her because her claims—that Samantha (Cara Pifko, SHARKSKIN) would be a successful actress—were false and lead to her death.
“There’s never been a single shred of evidence that any of this is real,” says Michael. “God or the Devil, if you’re out there, prove it. Come and get me.” In hopes of disproving believers, he’ll have the camera on himself 24 hours a day. And since the title isn’t exactly subtle, we know what discoveries Michael will make.
He sees a priest (Tobias Jelinek, 2013’s THE GOLDEN SCALLOP), who claims to have proof. Michael, of course, is suspicious. He orders a demon-summoning kit off the Internet, which doesn’t result in any demons. He visits two supposed experts, who, after suggesting he offer a semen sample for the demon they plan to bring forth, start to creep Michael out and, judging by a look on his face, perhaps convince him. The couple ties him up, speak Latin phrases and hold a knife to his chest. Soon enough, he’s seeing his dead wife and harming his daughter (Ella Anderson, the TV movie A FAIRLY ODD SUMMER).
THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING packs in a number of disturbing images (Michael’s basement encounter is pretty creepy), but there isn’t much here that hasn’t been done before: Michael speaks to the camera to offer exposition, another camera perches in the corner to scope his actions (as seen in the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies), night vision is employed to heighten the tension, people have sudden spasms, the camera bugs out, etc. etc. These are worn-out tricks that don’t pack the punch they once did, and so all of the scares are greatly limited.
So much of THE POSSESION OF MICHAEL KING is so obvious that it’s hard to get much enjoyment out of the spectacle. First-time writer/director David Jung (who shares story credit with Tedi Sarafian, whose previous credits include TANK GIRL and TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES) has surely seen a number of similar movies, but he hasn’t learned much and has instead ripped from so many of them.
Jung also never makes it clear whether or not his debut is supposed to support those Michael questions or prove his idea that they only believe out of fear, as Michael pleads with his possessor, “What if [I said I believed], would you leave?” Jung may not even know his intentions in the scene, in which case he’s only doing it for another cheap fright.
THE POSSESSION OF MICHAEL KING BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The high-definition transfer is an overall strong one that offers decent textures and deep blacks that add to the atmosphere.
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio transfer also contributes to the intended feel, with effective SFX and sudden music cues.