January 17, 2011

Quick Review: The Possession of David O'Reilly (2010)

The more I think about this movie, the more it just kinda pisses me off.

The story is simple; David arrives late one night at his friends house, carrying on about how his wife is a cheating whore, and his friends tell him to stay the night. During the night, he starts seeing Demons creeping around and trying to "get him," wakes his friends, rants a lot, and they just say "calm down mate, stay here as long as you need, despite you acting all crazy and unstable." Despite his wife telling him that something feels wrong about the whole thing and that they need to tell David to leave, Alex dismisses her and invites the obviously unwell man to stay as long as he needs to. Out of guilt I guess?

Go home, David. We need our sleep.
Now, if you're really someone's friend, you stick with them even through the worst of times, that's just how decent people act, but let's be real here; it was obvious that something happened to his wife and that David was either in the same danger or losing his grip on reality, so either way a good friend would have called the Police or someone in the mental health field to truly help their friend in need. The torment of David by Demons/his paranoia (we aren't ever sure which it is) grows worse and worse, and with his sane yet ignorant friends standing by and doing nothing about it, we are treated to constant jittery camera moves, long shots of doors, rooms and hallways, and by the time we get to the end, it's a little creepy but just makes too little sense and frustrates us so much that it all ceases to matter.

What is this?
And what about the ending sucks so bad? Well it's absolutely ambiguous, as we get no clear resolution of anything. I am all for open endings and guessing games in my movies, but there has to be something else there to support those kind of choices, or it just doesn't work. Had the movie that come before been compelling as the filmmakers intended, the ending could have passed as interesting. Instead, it just feels like a cop out for a story that never knew what it really wanted to be. The movie relies too much on forcing us to ask "what's going on here?" to be enjoyable, and coupled with the found footage-esque visuals, perpetual darkness, and jumbled feel, it takes us right out of anything that was meant to be suspenseful or creepy.

Was there anything good about it? Sure, there were a few things:
  • The creatures, what very little we got to see of them, did look creepy and pretty cool.
  • The acting is fairly solid all around, though the character of David is too jittery and disjointed, making him annoying more than convincing or sympathetic.
  • The premise was interesting, though nothing very interesting was done with it.

The most exciting scene in the movie.
I can imagine that some people will like this movie, though I can't really imagine why. It's NOT a Paranormal Activity clone, so don't go thinking that, although the director seems to think that this movie gave the makers of Paranormal Activity their film's foundation. That's a pretty bold statement considering that one movie sucked and one movie didn't. I guess it's up to you to decide which is which. As for us....

She's in this.


  1. Nice review. This movie frustrated the hell out of me as well. Usually, I can overlook stupid characters in horror films, because sometimes it makes their gruesome fate that much more enjoyable to watch, but for some reason I found the stupidity of these characters almost insufferable -- particularly the boyfriend/husband/whatever he was.

    And the ending? Was it meant to be ambiguous, or was it just an editing gaff? It seemed to be less about leaving the audience questioning whether David's paranoia was grounded in some sort of supernatural reality, or whether he was just bonkers, than just serving up a good heaping of illogic for the sake of it: 'now she's alive, now she'd dead.' Ugh!

  2. It's obvious that the demon killed her..given that david was dead..when she opened the door she let in the demon

    1. Yeah, IDK what these guys are talking about, the demons were obviously real. I get that the directors left out a few more seconds of the original ending(you can find it on youtube) just to make you have to think about it, But once you see the clear evidence there isn't really any other conclusion. You can see that the women's body is covered in claw marks.

  3. Well, my take on it is this, The man was clearly unstable and had lost the plot when he found the pics of his missus (which by the way, I think he took them himself) He is obviously suffering some kind of mental breakdown, be it bi-polar, schizophrenia or some long overdue after effects of drugs from time gone by. He then kills his missus and is then in denial and creates this mad story in his head that monsters did it. So, he then flees to his mates house and shows them the pictures, all the while becoming more and more erratic. I don't even think the neighbour actually existed in my opinion because lets face it, no one else really met her. (Just another part of his wild imagination because he'd seen some newspaper about it some hours, days or weeks before) in his deluded state, he's been Keeping a diary of weird and wonderful drawings of all these monsters his diseased mind has created further 'proving' that these creatures do exist. He then starts sleep walking. (come on guys, sleep deprivation is seriously gonna twist your mind that little bit more) and when kate does question his sanity, his best mate just wants to stick up for him. Here enters the group hysteria, they all start thinking, "are they actually real?" my mates sane as far as I know so they must be, Oh, and let's not forget the Ouija type newspaper reading... On his own, with a glass he is manipulating, there in itself is an admission that he has don some nasty stuff to sarah. (probably slashed her in the gut and watched her bleed to death after finding out she was pregnant. So, Conclusion... Deluded man kills GF, goes to mates house with some story, freaks them out and drags them along for the ride and it all ends with ana dead with Slash marks from the knife and david dead after finally succumbing to the beating/suffocation that ana put him through. (most likely killed himself) Lets face it, he's now murdered his missus, his best mate and his wife and probably still convinced himself it was the devil.... THE END! Text book really. :D

    1. I myself had argued this as well. The only problem with this is that there is an ending that they left off, which clearly showed that they were all clawed up by a monster. So if left the way most viewers watched it, then your way could be valid, but also left vague. However, when the missing scene is added there is only one way it could be interpreted, which is that all the events in the movie were real.

  4. If I remember correctly, the guy is not a friend its his brother right? The premise is David has been haunted for months plus the breakup on top of that. Seriously at the end of his rope, he takes to his brothers house to "get away" thinking he wont be bothered. But, in the wee am hours he starts hearing unexplained noises and cries, "No, not here". This movie starts out great to me. The sheer horror within David is very clear and the glimpses of his demons was good horror to me. But unfortunately the movie tails off about 2/3 thru and leaves an unwanted taste in your mouth. Good premise but not finished well.

    1. No, it was just his friend, IIRC.
      And why do you feel it trailed off? He really was seeing demons.