Is it fair to call Sarah Michelle Gellar an icon? She is certainly a well known figure in horror thanks to I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Grudge franchise. Buffy the Vampire Slayer endeared her to fans of the supernatural. Her role in 2008’s Possession makes complete sense. Gellar plays Jess who is happily married to Ryan. When Ryan and his troublesome brother Roman are involved in a car accident her life is turned upside down. As her husband lies in a coma, Roman wakes up thinking he is Ryan.
The central mystery behind the movie is whether Roman is telling the truth. The first part of Possession effectively paints Roman as a bad guy. The story also tries its best to keep the audience guessing. To its credit, there are truly are moments when Roman seems possessed. Watching as Jess falls in love with Ry-oman is formulaic, but also makes sense.
Herein likes the biggest problem with Possession. It simply does not do a good job of keeping the audience engaged. The plot is very paint by numbers. Roman is ridiculously malicious and Ryan is too sweet. It is almost as if the writers want are afraid to lose the audience if the plot gets too complicated. Things play out as expected and the big reveal is anticlimactic.
Everything leads to a finale that is unsatisfying. There is the expected struggle before an odd payoff. Possession has an strange subplot involving flashbacks. At random moments, Ryan will go into a seizure that seems to effect Roman. It seems to be answered at the end, but it also leads to more questions than go unresolved.
Sarah Michelle Gellar has built quite a resume with horror movies. The irony is they have left little impression. Possession is proof this is not always her fault. More of a psychological thriller than a true horror, the movie never quite hits its mark. The misleading marketing sets up an expectation it cannot meet while the story is too copy and past to be memorable.