Possession (2009)

possession

“Which one is my husband?”

The Scoop: 2009 PG-13, directed by Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace.

Tagline: What if the person you loved became someone else?

Summary Capsule: Jessica has to decide if the man who woke up is her husband or his brother.

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Eunice’s rating: Oh can’t you see? You belong to me My poor heart aches With every step you take

Eunice’s review: Jess, her husband Ryan, and his brother Roman all live together in an uneasy truce. Jess was Roman’s lawyer in an assault case when her and Ryan met. After getting out of prison Ryan moved in with them, and on their -Ryan and Jess’- first anniversary things come to a head. After some things are said, Roman leaves while Ryan is away, and Ryan drives back to find him. The two end up in a head on car collision, sending both into comas.

While Roman’s body wakes up, he claims to actually be Ryan.

So Jess has to struggle with her grief and small irrational hope that maybe, just maybe Roman and Ryan (gah, are they twins? The movie never says they are) have switched bodies. But if it’s not Ryan….

Having become a fan of Lee Pace after seeing The Fall, I was actually really excited for Possession the first time I saw a trailer for it. And then it wasn’t released. And it wasn’t released. And it still wasn’t released. And at some point you get that ugly sinking feeling. The feeling that comes when you know you’re going to see the movie anyway, but it’s probably going to be awful.

So I rented it and it was.

Coming on the tail end of the Western remakes of Asian horror movies fad, it’s so nauseatingly by the numbers. Cold impersonal cinematography, lack of understanding of the source material, lame ending, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. The only upside was Lee Pace playing both bad boy and nice guy. I saw it and I was done.

Then I heard about an alternate ending that I guess wasn’t on my rental copy. So, when I saw it for three bucks to buy, meh I picked it up.

Alternate ending? Alternate ENDING?! It’s an entirely different movie!

Let me back track a bit. The theatrical version is your standard thriller. You know pretty early on Roman’s going to turn out to be a nut job and the bad guy (Not a spoiler as you’ll see it a mile away). The theatrical ending is also not the original ending. The original “ending” is about 30-45 minutes long and changes the tone, meaning, and direction of everything.

Based on a Korean movie named Addicted, I’m guessing somebody funded a “horror” movie and flipped when they found out they were getting a dark romance thriller. The other version doesn’t clearly point to whether it’s Roman or Ryan from the beginning. Instead it follows Jess and Roman!Ryan’s relationship, and whether or not it matters who he is. The ending (in this version I will not be giving away any spoilers) is kinda interesting, I found myself thinking about how much of the things Ryan did in the first part of the movie might’ve actually been Roman. It’s not great, the journey is still ho hum since it really is all about the destination in this case, but it’s better. If I were using letter grades, I’d say the theatrical version is a D-, while the alternate is a C or maybe a C+ if I’m feeling generous. Maybe if Jess were cast different or the filming had more life and energy it could have been good instead of just okay.

There’s one problem I have though. You cannot just watch one version or the other. The original ending is included as a special feature deleted scene. Which means you have to watch the theatrical version first to get the first half, but if you don’t know when that exact cut off is, you’ll have to watch the whole thing then turn around and watch the other ending. Drives me up the wall!

Anyway, Possession isn’t going to change anyone’s life. I can really only recommend it for fans of Lee Pace. You’ll have seen it already done better, and I wish I could say more about it, but there isn’t more to say. But if you’re going to watch it, make sure you give the alternate ending a chance, it’s way better.

Check out these pythons!

Intermission!

  • How would Roman know about the lucky coin being called a “lucky coin?”
  • Possession is a remake of 2002 Korean movie Addicted. It was supposed to have a theatrical release in 2008, but distributor Yari Film Group filed for bankruptcy, after being pushed back it eventually went straight-to-DVD in 2010.
  • That doctor’s some sort of neurologist, there’s no way he’d be telling her anything about the baby.

Groovy Quotes

Ryan: Everybody is always giving Roman a raw deal. He’s my brother, I’m not going to do that.
Jessica: I know you don’t see it, but he scares me.

Jessica: Which one is my husband?

Roman: Anyone can change.
Casey: ‘Anyone can change?’ ‘Change is choice’ right, Roman?

Casey: You’re sweet. Just like he said.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Addicted
  • Shattered
  • Malice

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