May 10, 2018 The Possession Experiment (Movie Review)
Those who study the occult are often written off as strange or unstable. There is no real proof of claims of demons and other evil beings. If there was proof would that not give validity to the study. How would proof even be found? Who would be willing to potentially sacrifice their soul for the chance to prove once and for all that demons exist? Director Scott B. Hansen offers up The Possession Experiment, a film that explores these questions and much more.
Released on DVD in the US market back in December of 2016 via Momentum Pictures, and now available on Digital Download as of Tuesday, May 14, 2018 in the UK market thanks to The Movie Partnership, in The Possession Experiment, Professor Tucker (Ricky D’Alonzo: The Devil’s Door 2016) teaches Intro to World Religions. Assigning a final project of his student’s choosing, Brandon (Chris Minor: Happily Never After TV series, Edge 2015) has always been interested in the occult and has decided to make his final project an experiment about demonic possessions.
Brandon’s idea is to attempt to summon a demon and willingly have himself possessed with said demon. His goal is to bring proof and validity to the supernatural community. Stoner classmate, Clay (Jake Brinn: Glimpse 2015, Flushed 2016), decides to go along for the ride and work with Brandon. Professor Tucker tries to talk Brandon out of his plans, saying that he does not fully understand what he is dealing with, but Brandon is unmoved and continues on.
Brandon goes online and watches as many exorcism videos he can find. He is oddly drawn to an exorcism from twenty years ago that happened not far from town. A woman, Tracy Crowell (Kt Fanelli: The Pretty Bad Girls TV series, Alaska: Ice Cold Killers TV series), was possessed and an exorcism performed. Police are involved because during the ritual, everyone but one cameraman and her baby were killed. He decides this house will be where the experiment takes place. He starts a Fundme.com account to raise money for the experiment. He promises with a donation he will live stream the possession ritual. The money is raised quickly. He uses some of it to hire a spiritual medium, Julie, (Pamela Myers: Alice series, Protocol 1984) and a med student Leda (Nicky Jasper: Nocturne 2010, The Smart Rocks 2013). While Brandon takes the venture seriously, Clay and Leda are more skeptical; but curiosity keeps them on the project.
With viewers of all ages and backgrounds watching, the experiment commences. Brandon invites whatever demon willingly into his body. Things do not go exactly as planned. Brandon is left disappointed. Now he is being vilified online from those who are disappointed as well and even more who are angry for him even trying to summon evil. Even his mom, Emile (Sheri Gill Dixon: debut film), wants nothing to do with him, though Frank (Terry Jernigan: Pilgrim’s Progress 2008, 40 Nights 2016), his dad, assures him she will eventually come around. Brandon does not know what to do or where to go from here, but he is not willing to give up.
Weird things begin to happen. Did the experiment work after all? Is Brandon now possessed? As new, even more damaging information comes out about the Crowell exorcism, how does it change the experiment? Will the truth of evil finally be known?
Possession and films with exorcisms follow the main set of guidelines. An unassuming person finds a possessed object or innocently plays with a Ouija Board and suddenly a demon is living inside them. The main difference between other films and The Possession Experiment, is that here there exists a willing participant. The idea is intriguing. Would a demon even want to take control over someone who wants them there? Would that not take away the fun of the struggle for the demon? Demons want power and control do they not? Does anyone even know what demons want? What does it say about someone who wants to be invaded by a demon? How stable are they really? The very idea creates a series of uncomfortable questions for the viewer to ponder.
Another unique aspect to the film is the idea of live streaming the potential possession. Society is over-exposed with videos of everything else these days, why not the point of possession? Brandon surely would not have gotten the funding for the experiment without the live feed. It raises the question on who are these people willing to watch evil take over another human being? Is society so desensitized from access to everything else that seeing true evil is the last great frontier?
It is obvious that a lot of care went into making this film. The script is solid. Even the various twists are wrapped up tightly. There is no lingering disappointment on how the action and the history comes together. The possession scenes are appropriately cringeworthy. All characters are solid with strong actors embodying them. It is an extreme rarity in a Horror film, to have every piece so perfectly aligned, and yet somehow The Possession Experiment achieves all of this.
It goes without saying that playing with evil is a dangerous undertaking. The unknown factor of what evil is capable of alone, is enough to make rational people stay as far away from the topic. Willingly giving evil an opening is a tricky game that most who play pay the ultimate price for. The Possession Experiment excels in ways that the majority of films in the genre will never know. The film is creepy, enjoyable, intelligent, and thought-provoking. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock gives The Possession Experiment 4 out of 5 stars.