Their relationship continues to fall apart as Anna resorts to hysterics and self-mutilation. Anna begins a pattern of disappearing randomly and then reappearing days later as if nothing happened. When Mark tries to confront Heinrich, he is informed that Heinrich hasn't seen Anna in a long time. Where is Anna disappearing off to? When Mark investigates, he discovers that his wife's mental instability may be related to supernatural forces that have got a hold on her far beyond his control or hers. But what's got a hold on Mark when he himself begins to exhibit strange behavior, stranger than his past angst-ridden husband routine? What follows is one of the best horror films of all time.
This film is batshit crazy. The mad things that happen are not explained. They happen. This culminates in one of the best and most cryptic finales I've ever seen a film have the courage and ability to get away with. Everything that happens, however off-the-wall, seems to have an understated purpose. Possession does not care about spoon-feeding its audience. It seems to be having fun to get away with as many horrifying and disgusting things as it possibly can, and it does succeed. It's like a whole bunch of balloons dancing around in different directions but remaining grounded by a single string. I do think there is common theme behind everything that happens. I've read many of the theories online; each one sounds better than the last so I've come to conclude that this is a film that has many voices. Several demons possess it, and we each get a glimpse at one.
In general, the acting is nothing to write home about, save for the two leads. Sam Neill, while widely derided for doing a mediocre job in this film, is actually pretty spooky as the husband. He may not be as hysterical as his wife, but when he does lose his temper then those spooky undercurrents certainly do not get lost on the audience. But the film does rest mostly on Isabelle Adjani's stellar performance, which I now deem to be one of the best ever committed to film. Remove all of the horror portions in the film's second half and you still have a brilliant performance of a woman losing her very identity. A woman on the verge of insanity. Still, I have to give her props for perfectly handling the physical demands of the role in a key horror scene where she appears to be miscarrying whatever spawn of Satan is growing inside of her. Seriously, watch the scene below. If anything, the brilliance of this scene should convince you to give this film a chance.
Starting out as a well-handled look into the disintegration of a marriage and then seamlessly delving into horror territory, Possession is a film worth watching. I received a recommendation of it from Tyler over at Southern Vision last year. And I'm kicking myself for just now getting around to seeing it because this film embodies all that I love about cinema: the ability to transform into something other, the ability to take risks, the ability to veer into previously unexplored territory, the ability to scare us and frighten us even if the main source of the horror remains encrypted beneath scenes of pure repulsion. This is a film that you won't forget, whether you love it or hate it. It's a possession on your mind in and of itself. There's no escape.