The Possession of David O’Reilly

Another mini-review.  I’m sort of liking this format.  Today I’m going to talk about a British film called The Possession of David O’Reilly.  This is a fairly recent film, made in 2010, and it’s on Netflix instant.  It is also known as “The Torment” and claims to be “based on a true story” though I seriously doubt that.  It has a very small cast, basically three main characters, a fourth supporting character, and the creatures…

I didn’t have much hope for this film.  Netflix rated it at a three for me, which often leads me to watching real stinkers of films.  This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  This movie is scary, really scary, and it leaves you guessing right up to the end as to what really was going on.  In the end, it’s never truly resolved, which is good – you have to decide what happened.

First of all, this is not a “found footage” film, though it plays out like one.  In fact, the camera work plays a big part in the scariness of this film.  The camera is generally worked as if from the point of view of a character, but for a majority of the film, it’s not the viewpoint of any of the main characters at all.  So who is it?  Clearly no one the characters can see…  The night vision scenes are scary as well, usually from the point of view of one of the characters, and they did good to simulate being in near total darkness where you can only see a few inches in front of you.

Let’s talk about the ghosts.  First, I’m pretty sure they are ghosts, not demons.  There’s a number of reasons in the film to believe this, though it’s never definitively said.  The ghosts are very well done, some costuming, some CGI, but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.  This again goes back to the shaky camera and the lighting which keeps them just out of view enough that you can’t see them up close.  A few times you do, and they are well done.

The film also plays on one of my personal fears – looking out a window at night and seeing something out there moving…something not human.  The apartment where the action takes place has frosted windows in several places, and things moving behind them is very creepy.  The first scene where David looks out and sees…something… moving toward the flat is just terrifying.

The movie is titled The Possession of David O’Reilly, but he never appears possessed in the film.  However, you’re left wondering if he was just insane, which would fit the title, or if he was right, which would explain the final scene.  It’s impossible to know, but there are clues both ways.  Perhaps this is the story of a man who went crazy when he learned his girlfriend of three years was cheating on him, killed her, and then killed his two best friends.  Or maybe it’s the story of a guy who is being stalked by numerous ghosts for reasons unknown.  Either is possible.

I recommend watching this film.  It’s a lot better than it may seem, and it is very scary, if sometimes predictable.

EDIT: Here’s another, much more in-depth review.


One thought on “The Possession of David O’Reilly

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  1. I watched this movie last night. BIG MISTAKE.It was terribly boring and not scary at all. By the way, ambiguous endings such as this one make certain moviegoers feel cheated.

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