The Possession of Michael King

The Possession of Michael King Image
Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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4.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: Michael King (Shane Johnson) doesn’t believe in God or The Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, the documentary filmmaker decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural. Michael decides to make himself the center of the experiment - allowingMichael King (Shane Johnson) doesn’t believe in God or The Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, the documentary filmmaker decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural. Michael decides to make himself the center of the experiment - allowing demonologists, necromancers, and various practitioners of the occult to try the deepest and darkest spells and rituals they can find on him - in the hopes that when they fail, he’ll once and for all have proof that religion, spiritualism, and the paranormal are nothing more than myth. But something does happen. An evil and horrifying force has taken over Michael King. And it will not let him go. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 10
  2. Negative: 5 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 21, 2014
    70
    The Possession of Michael King is more scary than original.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Staeger
    Aug 19, 2014
    60
    After a promising start, rote possession imagery eventually becomes the focus, culminating in a by-the-numbers ending.
  3. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Aug 20, 2014
    50
    The director-screenwriter does manage to invest the familiar proceedings with some quirky, original touches.
  4. 38
    As “found footage” horror movies go, The Possession of Michael King is more unpleasant than scary.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Aug 24, 2014
    30
    That Jung and his collaborators haven’t found any new angles to explore in this endlessly overworked religio-horror claptrap would matter far less if they had a firmer grasp of form and technique.
  6. Reviewed by: Martin Tsai
    Aug 24, 2014
    30
    Although this film doesn't miss the whole point of found footage as the recent "Into the Storm" did, Jung does little to help suspend our disbelief.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Aug 21, 2014
    20
    Dim in wits and lighting, The Possession of Michael King strains our eyes, spits on our intelligence and saps our generosity of spirit. Relatively untaxed, however, is the part of the brain that processes new experiences: There’s scarcely a shot or an idea in this first feature from David Jung that we haven’t seen many times before.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 5
  2. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. Sep 6, 2014
    7
    So I was looking to waste some time, while watching this. I didn't expect to end up invested in it. It was meant to be background noise to aSo I was looking to waste some time, while watching this. I didn't expect to end up invested in it. It was meant to be background noise to a game of 'Tetris' or 'Puzzle Quest'. However, to my absolute surprise, this movie turned out to be one of the best horror movies I've seen this year.
    This movie is both written and directed by one David Jung, who is known for absolutely nothing else. I can't seem to find some proper info on him, so I will consider 'The Possession of Michael King' to be his first official work. And he did a great job with it.
    The movie is shot in the "found footage" style, but more in the sense of 'Afflicted', than 'Paranormal Activity'. It retains the "mockumentary" feeling (to which I give bonus points), without being afraid to show that the man behind the camera is competent at more than walking around, zooming, focusing and turning on Night Mode.
    It is also very well written, offering a plot that is nicely intertwined within it's minor details. Also, a plot that ultimately escapes the haunting fatalism of the horror genre, which made the movie feel lighter, without sacrificing it's essence.
    The movie is also directed very nicely. Weather this is his first movie or not, David Jung did a great and professional job. Some scenes have great ideas and look very cool, the overall atmosphere is on spot, and - hallelujah! - the movie contains proper usage of filters and camera effects.
    The role of the titular Michael King was performed superbly by Shane Johnson, who I have never seen in anything before. To my surprise, he showed great acting promise and I do want to see him in another leading part. The rest of the cast weren't given much to work with, and remain unmemorable as far as this movie goes, but you probably can expect that from a movie with such a title.
    The gripes I have with this movie are, ultimately, minor: a few cheap scares (one that was very premature!) and some very ugly special effects, but I choose to ignore these, the movie more than makes up for them. I liked it a lot and it's one of the better horror movies of recent time. The fact that it has a nicely intertwined plot, that is portrayed in a proper way, via good directing, shooting and acting, should provide a very welcomed amount of entertainment to every horror appreciator, and is enough for me to give my recommendation.

    To sumerize:

    While retaining some of the genre's most iconic cliches, this movie "strays" in all the right ways. Also, the overall plot is professionally intertwined - something we don't often see in modern horror. 'The Possession of Michael King' is a great movie that shows a lot of promise for the future work of both David Jung and Shane Johnson. Not only that, it is indeed a very good pick for the upcoming holidays, especially if you are in the mood for something fresh.
    Expand
  2. Dec 17, 2014
    4
    if the film didn't relay on cheap jump scares it would have stepped out of the clichéd found footage's comfort zone and worked. It didn't,if the film didn't relay on cheap jump scares it would have stepped out of the clichéd found footage's comfort zone and worked. It didn't, which resulted into a lazy, average possession movie with a poor script and horrific direction. Expand
  3. Aug 3, 2015
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The title just gives it all away, doesn't it? The first part of the movie tries to play coy as an "angry white guy who lost his wife now embarks onto a not-as-unique-as-he-thinks docutrip (found footage pretext) to disprove the supernatural, occultists, all that." It's pretty well executed: the setup means that anything cringe-worthy can be intentional on the part of the filmmakers.

    But then the movie has to deliver. And it does. With a few caveats. First of all, the demonologist helpfully read the description of the demon and this was filmed, so it should have been pretty obvious what the noises and the ants were about; this is never explicitly mentioned and the guy visits the necromancer first. Furthermore, at the end he says that the noise that initially drove him crazy was not actually the demon, but angels trying to protect him, which made no sense and was a completely pointless line to boot.

    Secondly, after he'd realized that he was irrevocably possessed, that it was a fight he was losing, that he was hurting others and himself, that everything was becoming unreal and he was losing sensation... he patched himself up. Why? He did try to kill himself later, in a scene that also made very, very little sense.

    Third, the daughter was treated as a prop for the entire movie. The guy was shown as consumed with his quest, and there was no mentioning, even from the psychologist/psychiatrist, that she existed and needed her father. I don't normally care for this familial stuff, but here it was a tad jarring: at first I thought he was living with his sister and her daughter. Why was the daughter included? For the "emotional stakes" of him struggling to not harm her. And that is just cheap and cliched. Here we have a relationship that was not established at all, yet used for the ending because parental love is a default, a free card to play.

    Fourth, the ending. The movie completely changed tone, it got the nice spiritual touch, used the daughter, and became sentimental all in one scene. I'm subtracting a full star just for that. At least there weren't any angels flying to take his soul up stairs of light. It was close, though.
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  4. Aug 22, 2014
    3
    The Possession of Michael King has some scary moments, and the premise is somehow different despite the tired "found footage" style. However,The Possession of Michael King has some scary moments, and the premise is somehow different despite the tired "found footage" style. However, 10 minutes into the movie, the movie lost me. Expand
  5. Aug 4, 2015
    3
    This is just one of those movies I found on Netflix that looked slightly interesting. In this sudden resurgence of the possession genre, TheThis is just one of those movies I found on Netflix that looked slightly interesting. In this sudden resurgence of the possession genre, The Possession of Michael King is just another lame entry. The Possession of Michael King concerns an atheist who is making a documentary trying to disprove the supernatural. He participates in multiple satanic rituals to show that even the darkest magic is fake, and realizes that it's actually real. And then demons. Despite its admittedly interesting premise, The Possession of Michael King is just another boring assault on the ears since every five minutes the movie decides to throw in an unnecessarily gratuitous jump scare without any sort of suspense leading up to it. I actually had to turn the volume down on my computer so low that I could barely hear the dialog. Instead of delving into the science vs religion themes presented in the first act, the film just goes straight to the satanic rituals, bodily deterioration and gross-out scares. It never really entertains, scares or gives the viewer something original and rather gives us a barrage of pointless jump scares and a been-there-done-that story. If you want an exorcism movie that does the science vs religion trope correctly, I suggest The Last Exorcism. Otherwise, stay away from this generic and dull flick. Expand

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