Michael King (Shane Johnson) doesn’t believe in God or the Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, Michael decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural, making himself the centre of the experiment. He allows demonologists, necromancers, and various practitioners of the occult to try the deepest and darkest spells and rituals that they can find on him – in the hopes that when they fail, he’ll once and for all have proof that religion, spiritualism, and the paranormal are nothing more than myth. But something does happen. An evil and horrifying force has taken over Michael King and it will not let him go.
The Possession of Michael King is exactly what the title tells us is in store and being a ‘found footage’ film, it comes as no big surprise to find everything documented via the medium of film. For some, the prospect of having to sit through another entry into this already saturated genre of filmmaking will most likely have you shaking your heads, and you’d probably be right in this case.
Undeniably there are some outstanding examples of found footage such as Afflicted, the VHS series and, of course, the one that kicked things off, The Blair Witch Project. Unfortunately, whilst writer and director David Jung starts off on a particularly high note things gradually progress to a rather flat F, largely the result of shaky hand syndrome; camera hopping; inexplicable high pitch noises; the use of static interference or sudden black outs.
A human being possessed is far from new and it’s always going to be a tall order to come up with anything fresh and original. One thing that does play in Jung’s favour is the fact he has King utterly sceptical of the very existence of demons and inadvertently welcomes the titular possession. Although this concept is certainly a breath of fresh air, it soon falls firmly back into the demonic possession formula: madness, self-destruction, isolation, voices, black eyes, self harm, the want for the death of loved ones.
Shane Johnson, who plays King, is convincing in his role as the sceptic right through to the tortured soul. It’s certainly a solid performance and he unequivocally portrays all emotions perfectly. In saying that there were one or two moments, which gave cause for concern, as it seemed to be teetering on what can only be described as ridiculous.
As with all good horror films, the special effects are of the utmost importance and in this department Jung delivered. He interjects disturbing moments of self-mutilation, blood and gore along with the quirkiness of King continually enjoying the personal company of insects.
Overall, the film came across as being reasonably well structured and you could certainly tell a lot of careful consideration went into planning the whole chain of events.
It’s just a shame the film never serves up anything particularly new or unique because the idea itself wasn’t actually all that bad but it could have been implemented far better. All the same, this is David Jung’s directorial debut and for a first time in the chair it’s a reasonably promising start to his career. He kind of left me with an inkling of hope that once he finds his feet he could end up creating a truly great genre piece.
Words: Amanda Hunt