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Fantasia Film Festival Review: POSSESSED

POSSESSED poster -largeOne of the many lovable elements of 2012’s PARANORMAN was how easy it was for genre fans to latch onto. It dipped its toes into the horror genre, giving small homage-filled shout outs to films that horror lovers adore. While that film and those nods were fun, it left me wondering if we’d ever receive an animated or claymation filled horror film. That’s where director Sam Ortí Martí’s POSSESSED comes in. Firing on all cylinders and never stopping for a single second, the stop-motion film is nothing short of a genuinely sadistic love letter to the horror genre and the films that inhabit that genre.

Throwing elements of over a dozen classics films into one stop-motion feast, POSSESSED gives its viewers THE EXORCIST, EVIL DEAD, THE OMEN and an incredibly impressive amount of others into one film, telling the story of a former superstar trying to raise her son following an accident that left her husband dead; a priest, questioning his faith after the death of his mother; an agent trying to talk his client in returning to the stage and is willing to do whatever it takes to make it so. All of those plot points that horror fans know and love are not only present in POSSESSED, but are treated not like a parody, but a full declaration of love for the genre, combining them all into one hell of an entertaining treat, full of blood, guts, breasts and demons.

As each character is dealing with their own issues, they’re brought together when Damien, the young boy, becomes possessed by a demon, causing the mother to turn to a gypsy, doctors and eventually the almost faithless priest for help. Exact shots from the films referenced are present, and if those homage-filled scenes aren’t enough to make you smile from ear to ear, there’s an attitude of rebellion that runs throughout the film, a large dose of off-kilter debauchery and irreverent characters that makes POSSESSED feel like a true classic in the making. It feels like the types of horror films that fans grew up on, before everything was played safe and people were focused on how PC they could be. The characters living inside of the film are fun to love, and the story, though we’ve seen it before (a good thing), is a fresh and exciting one, bringing that familiarity and horror-love to its maximum potential.

The gags are on blood and gore-filled display, and voice performances by Santiago Segura  (DAY OF THE BEAST), Alex Angulo (PAN’S LABYRINTH), Anabel Alonso (KIKA) and Nacho Vigalondo (the director behind one of my favorite films of all time, TIME CRIMES) are all done with a level of excitement to them. It’s obvious that everybody involved, from the voice actors to the artists who brought this claymation spectacle to life, all had a great time doing the film, because their execution of it is impossible not to instantly fall in love with. Scenes of Damien telling his psychiatrist to murder his family when he gets home, a Bishop who only cares about money, and the ironic death of Damien’s matador father, are all brilliantly written, making POSSESSED such a wonderfully grim and fun ride to sit through.