Monday, 22 February 2016

the possession of michael king

the possession of michael king tells the story of a filmmaker determined to disprove the existence of the supernatural. to do so he puts himself through a couple of extreme black magic rituals and discovers too late that he has become living proof of the very thing he was trying to debunk.

the success of this film relies very much on the performance of shane johnson in the title role and our empathy with his character. johnson is onscreen for almost every minute of the film so it's a huge undertaking for him, especially considering the gruelling nature of some of the scenes. i never really thought about that while watching it though because it's the kind of performance that makes you forget you're watching a performance. it's almost as if johnson has been playing king as part of a one man show for years that is only now being filmed; there's a confidence and an authenticity to the way he plays the character that really resonates and suggests that there is much more to the character than what is scripted. most importantly johnson is charismatic and likable making it easier to get on board with his plan and follow him on the journey.

the writing here is also very strong when it comes to the character. we are first shown king with his wife and daughter, then in the next scene we discover his wife was killed in an accident that could have been avoided had she not taken advice from a clairvoyant. this gets us on side with king's crusade against belief in the supernatural immediately. giving king a daughter also adds a vulnerability to his character and raises the stakes as things begin to escalate.

the horror elements are handled really well and there are a few surprises, particularly with the use of ants to indicate the possession becoming worse. the necromancy and demon summoning rituals king subjects himself to are both really effective and the necromancy ritual in particular was something I haven't seen on film before. my only reservation is that for me it all escalated far too quickly. given that this is a story about a sceptic i was expecting a more subtle introduction of the supernatural elements when in fact king gets what is essentially definitive proof well within the first 30 minutes of the film.

that said, the possession of michael king has a strong premise and a great central performance, both of which make this one of the more accomplished and interesting found footage horror films i've seen.

the found footage blogathon will run throughout february in which time i plan to review as many films as possible and maybe throw in a few extras as well. if you'd like to be involved and post your own content, send me a link via twitter with the tag #foundfootageblogathon. i'll retweet your link and will include it in a summary post at the end of the month. you can find a full list of the films i'll be reviewing here.

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