Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Smothered with Melodrama.
Ah yes, here in the world of Hollywood, we can never get enough Paranormal found-footage horror flicks. Seriously, how many are there floating around aimlessly? Too many if you ask me. There are a precious few that I consider okay, maybe even good, but for the most part, they’re all just trying to rip off The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. So I was reluctant, to say the least, when considering watching The Possession of Michael King. At the same time, there was one thing that actually reeled me in – knowing that through all of the exorcism and possession movies, hardly ever is the victim an adult, and hardly ever is the victim a man. That proved to me that it at least, somewhere down deep, had at least a fraction of potential material. I was more or less mistaken.
This is the story of Michael King’s possession. Duh. It’s told through the documentary style. Michael recently lost his wife, and to prove to himself and to others that she’s okay…somewhere in another life – he goes method after method, with black magic, to find her. His journey obviously lands him much farther than he ever intended to reach – as his demonic alter-ego wants him to do one thing – kill his daughter.
So I did like the fact that the person possessed was an adult man. I thought that was weirdly new and fresh, so I welcomed it. I also liked the fact that even though he was technically doing things that other paranormal films have done countless times before, his methodology was specifically unique. The way he went about doing these things was very different and separated itself from other paranormal flicks, so that’s really good. Unfortunately, for the most part, everything else was way too loud in terms of what made this horrible.
It’s not entirely found-footage, it’s more or less a mockumentary. The difference being – found footage is made to look raw and unedited – including fragments of video that are random and have no real significance to the overall story. Those are put in there for realism, because most people who shoot amateur home videos for the first time will have those random clips where they are having trouble turning off the camera. A mockumentary is a false documentary. It’s edited together and even narrated, complete with asides. It immediately doesn’t feel realistic, because you know the guy would have had to edit the thing – and he was going banana sandwich crazy…so he couldn’t have edited it together at all.
As for the acting, this is very, very tricky. Shane Johnson plays King, and here’s the thing – I honestly don’t think he’s a bad actor, just chose the worst role. This isn’t the type of role he should pick, because he over-acted, and you shouldn’t over-act in any amateur, self-made video. It looks, sounds, and feels fake. He has a really deep and commanding voice, and I could see him as a very successful villain on, say, Star Trek or something. It’s not only that though, most of the movie focused on him and only him – which is different than most paranormal films. This felt way too much like a One Man Show starring Shane Johnson. So there was a lot of opportunity to recognize his faults – and that’s not the actor’s problem. It’s the directors for not realizing what kind of actor this guy is…I guess some of the blame is also on the casting director.
If I was asked what the best part of The Possession of Michael King was, I’d probably have to say the physical stuff. Those scenes with the ants and the really simple shots of pain – like the pin and finger scene. Those, and other physical shots like it made it look really nice at times.
Not only is this just another paranormal documentary flick, but it also had some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. I respect parts of what it was going for, but I’m sorry. Shane Johnson was wrong for the role. He removed all believability – as microscopic as it was – from the film. A movie like this hinges on what’s believable or not, and this just got to the point where it felt like a parody of itself. Bloody arrows leading someone through a house, really? A ghost/demon/entity is going to take the time out of it’s busy day to draw on the walls?