February 1, 2018 Family Possessions (Movie Review)
When it comes to the components of what makes up a good Slasher-Horror film, few directors will go back to the roots of Horror to really and truly attempt to understand what goes into creating a cult-classic. Most try to break the mold, while others simply try to reproduce what they know will sell at the box office. Fortunately for Horror lovers everywhere, Family Possessions is a gem of a film that takes the tired concept of a haunted house Slasher and practically reinvents it. For your viewing pleasure, Family Possessions will be released to DVD and VOD on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018, thanks to 4Digital Media, sold and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Written and directed by Tommy Faircloth (The Cabin 2013, Dollface 2014), Family Possessions tells the story of a dysfunctional and financially-struggling family who are forced to move to an old house that has been inherited by their daughter Rachael (Leah Wiseman: Dismembering Christmas 2015, Irrational Fear 2017). The catch here is that, as Rachael has inherited the home, she must remain in order for the family to continue to use its contents, as well as its estate funds. Needless to say, strange occurrences quickly show that Rachael has inherited more than just an old house from her grandmother, who was a clearly much more complicated individual than her parents claim.
A film that offers a connection to viewers with real family issues while also keying in on aspects of Psychological Horror, Family Possessions is a fairly decent Horror flick from start to finish. Combining elements of the Supernatural and Slasher subgenres, this is sure to deliver a satisfying viewing experience for those interested in this type of Horror. While the acting can be a tad bit tough to get through in certain areas, for the most part this is not something that will deter audiences from taking a chance on this viewing experience.
Story wise, this is a creative take on the haunted house sub-genre where the family gets to live in an extravagant house, debt free, but all this freedom comes at a dire cost. The film does not rely on too many special effects, which is good: it allows the story to develop in a natural way through what is suggested to us, not shown. The town in which this film was set also adds a certain creepy and gloomy element to it, making it at times seem more bone-chilling than it naturally attempts to be.
Acting wise, Leah Wiseman stands out with her terrific performance as Rachael, the struggling teenager trying to get some sort of grasp on life as she tries to save her family financially; all while trying to escape the town’s gossip about her, and the strange paranormal occurrences that keep happening in the house. Jason Vail (Tammy 2014, Boo! A Madea Halloween 2016) and Morgan Monnig (40 Fears 2011, The Cabin 2013) also create compelling performances as the dysfunctional parents of Rachael. Additionally, Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp 1983, Dahmer vs. Gacy 2010) plays the alcoholic and uncaring mother to Rachael’s friend Maggie (Erika Edwards: The Struggle Is Real 2015, The Perfect Day 2017).
Though it would have been nice to see Rose more active in her role, Faircloth did a reasonable job of making sure all the characters had good viewing time, not to mention there is a good dose of blood and gore to really keep fans of this genre satisfied. So while the acting comes off a bit campy in some aspects, it works well for the film as Faircloth seems to have this effortless way of combining the supernatural, drama, and the campiness of old-school Slashers such as Sleepaway Camp that makes this a delight to watch. Also, be on the lookout for Mark Patton (Anna to the Infinite Power 1983, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 1985) as Tyson.
That being said, a film that is both a great pleasure and a wonderful surprise, it is perfectly understandable why Family Possessions has caught a lot of buzz. It does a great job of rising above the conventional challenges of creating an intriguing Haunted House/Slasher picture, while it possesses (pun intended) enough tasteful gore that blends in wonderfully and naturally.
With its fair share of comedy, campiness, and peppered in drama, Family Possessions is a Thriller with a great mystery that keeps the audience guessing till the very end. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives this Mystery-Horror picture an awesome 4 out of 5 stars.