Bad Movies Done Right — Possession

Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

O Sarah Michelle Gellar, where art thou career?

A dedicated fan of all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I must admit to having a slight crush on the lovely SMG during the late ‘90s.

Riding the fame of her staring role in every geek’s favorite vampire slayer television show, SMG hopped from teen flick to teen flick  — in the process building a steady resume during the late ‘90s and early part of the last decade. When she finally decided to leave Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2003, one of the reasons Gellar cited was a desire to branch out and try something new.

Low and behold, nearly a decade later and Gellar has yet to make a name for herself in anything but cheesy ghost movies — a good chunk of which are remakes of Japanese horror movies.

Possession, the latest in Gellar’s one-way ticket to career suicide, was completed in 2007. Three years later, it has finally seen release — in the island of misfit toys that is the straight-to-DVD horror film section of your friendly neighborhood video store.

In the film, a remake of the 2002 Japanese film Jungdok, Gellar play Jessica, the ungrateful wife of a tender husband played by Michael Landes.

Between beating herself up over her inability to match her artist husband’s affection ratio, the career-oriented Jessica fumes with hatred over the fact that her deadbeat brother-in-law — who was released from prison, has taken to staying in a spare room in the couple’s house.

When her constant glares cast at her brother-in-law Roman (played by Pushing Daises‘ Lee Pace) finally drives the ex-con to storm out of the house, he winds up in a head-on collision with his own brother, Jessica’s husband.

The two brothers left in a coma, Jessica is a grieving mess of emotion — or at least as much emotion as the permanently puckered Gellar can muster. That changes, though, when Roman wakes up from the coma claiming to be Ryan. It seems that their souls have performed the old switcharoo while the two brothers were in La-La Land. Or did they?

Dun-Dun-Dunn!

Jessica, not sure what to think, is left torn between an intense hatred for her brother-in-law and the desire to believe that her husband has returned to her — if even in another person’s body.

Speaking of a want to believe, William B. Davis, otherwise known as the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files, makes a brief cameo as a hypnotist who attempts to prove who it is that really inhabits the body of Roman.

The movie, while dense in atmosphere and handedly acted by Pace and Gellar, never really lives up to its premise — much like another recently released movie that dealt with a similar, if somewhat more taboo, subject matter: The Secret.

In The Secret, David Duchovny played a man whose wife’s spirit possesses his daughter’s body after they are both in a car accident. Duchovny’s initial joy at having his wife back from the dead quickly turns to repulsion when he learns his wife wants to resume their physical relationship — even if she is now in the body of their child.

Unfortunately, both films eventually petered out in the end — The Secret over a lack of willingness to go all the way with its outside-the-box approach and Possession with its predictable attempt at a twist ending that ends up being as tired as it is rushed.

Possession‘s director duo Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist were responsible for Den osynlige, the 2002 film that would eventually be remade by David S. Goyer as The Invisible. At least with Possession’s release, they can now join Goyer in the club for film director who turn a foreign film into a tepid American remake.

Robert Saucedo honestly doesn’t know what’s possessed him to watch so many bad movies . Follow him on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.

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