Rating 1 (2 on second viewing)

Directed by Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist

Written by Michael Petroni, based on the film‘Addicted’, written by Byun Won-mi

Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (Jessica), Lee Pace (Roman), Michael Landes (Ryan), Tuva Novotny (Casey), Chelah Horsdal (Miranda), Dhirendra (Dr Rajan) and William B Davis (Hypnotist)

Jessica and Ryan are happily married, although Jessica is not as attentive to the marriage as her husband. His troubled younger brother Roman, who has recently been released from prison following a six month conviction for aggravated assault, is temporarily living with them, an arrangement that Jessica finds increasingly difficult. Following a freak automobile accident that leaves both Ryan and Roman in a coma, Roman awakes, now claiming to believe that he is Ryan, leaving Jessica to try to come to terms with her own feelings of guilt and loss.


‘Possession’ is an American remake of a 2002 South Korean film called ‘Addicted’ (or ‘Jungdok’). The film was first announced in 2006 and originally set for release in February 2008, but when the production company Yari Film Group experienced financial problems it resulted in a number of delays, until finally it was released direct to DVD in March 2010.

The film is a melancholy psychological thriller with supernatural overtones that follows a similar pattern to previous Sarah Michelle Gellar films ‘The Grudge’ and ‘The Return’. However, unlike those two films, it just does not work. There is little suspense or foreboding and there does not appear to be much obvious on-screen chemistry between Gellar and Lee Pace, both of whom are competent actors who give uninvolving performances here. The film is rather threadbare and somewhat botched and quite simply fails in almost every aspect.

I consider myself to be a fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s work and although the last film in which she took a starring role that made any appreciably commercial impact was ‘The Grudge’ in 2004, I think she has made some very worthwhile films since that time, even if she seems not to attract much critical support for her choices. However, ‘Possession’ is very poor, much like ‘Suburban Girl’ in 2007, another rare Gellar film that was, I concluded, somewhat less than inspiring.

Additional: Having watched the film for a second time, some of my previous criticisms no longer apply. It is, I have decided, not as bad as my initial impression of it suggested and both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace give better performances than I had at first concluded. However, I do feel that the film fails to fire on all cylinders - it seems largely stuck in second gear and rarely gets any further than third. Perhaps my biggest criticism is that the portrayal of Ryan’s undying love for Jessica in the opening scenes comes across not so much as romantic and inspiring, but overly sentimental and even a little creepy.

Original review posted 7 March 2010 - additional comments added on 10 March 2010


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