Possession movies no longer possess pizzazz

Fabian Garcia

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It might be time to hit the theaters this weekend. If your last visit was for “The Dark Knight Rises”, you’re just about due for another round of movie magic. The problem is, one is more likely to find witchcraft than true cinema gold nowadays.

In the search for movie gems, you will inevitably find “The Possession” as an option. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Great, here we go again. Another devil-inside-me story has made its way to the big screen and no one seems to care.

Well, that ends here.

Welcome to the much needed censure (not a review) that this unholy project – and countless others like it –so rightfully deserves. As if trying to justify the absurdity of such a film, the official website – thepossessionmovie.com – claims “The Possession” is in fact based on a true story. Finally there’s a legitimate reason to sit in these seats for the 100th time. Apparently, it

could happen to us.

We live in an age when people are once again fascinated by demons and devils. Our fear manifests in how often movie executives force-feed the public the same recycled gruel, which is far past its expiration date. I mean, sure, the idea of real exorcism has made me wary of playing with Ouija boards, but Hollywood is milking the concept to the point where these movies aren’t even scary anymore.

With recent installments like “The Devil Inside” (2012), “The Rite” (2011) and “The Last Exorcism” (2010) you’d think they would give it a rest already. As it stands, however, there’s no sign of slowing down.

According to the Internet Movie Database’s website, IMDB.com, production company “Room 101” is already in post-production for “Paranormal Activity 4” – another undertaking in this hellish department. Lucky for us, we get to witness the familiar mayhem all over again – doors slamming, floating objects and hopefully some creative body-dragging we haven’t yet seen. Plus, believe it or not, “Paranormal Activity 4” is supposed to be the last of the franchise.

Clearly the film industry has found a niche in horror that draws viewers in. Why would it halt a money-making scheme now when the cash is rolling in too? At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about – profit.

Filmmakers within the genre are capitalizing on shock value combined with trite formulas to create unoriginal and boring plots. Basically, we’re not getting our money’s worth. There’s no point of paying $10.50 to see the same scare tactics we saw earlier this year. In the spirit of ingenuity, producers and writers should seriously come up with new models of fear. Everyone enjoys a good horror movie, but no more distorted looking females speaking in incantations, please. Novelty is key, and a bit of diversity would be nice also.

A couple of Sac State students had different thoughts on the subject. When asked how she felt about the phenomenon of possession recently, 4th year Biology major Lois Onuoma said the theme was prevalent in her home country of Nigeria, but that she didn’t believe in it herself.

“Movies are supposed to teach you a lesson, not to be taken literally.”

2nd year Criminal Justice major Justin Martin supported the movement. He noted how it calls for a fun night out with friends and some genuine thrills, not to mention a classic place to take a date.

Whether these films trigger romance or not doesn’t change the fact that they’re hackneyed and stale.

The point I’m getting at is this: clichéd haunted house scenarios have to stop polluting our theaters, especially in the demonic subgenre. Yes, these dim-witted, naive people have been under Satan’s puppeteer strings for years, but enough is enough. It’s 2012 and the concerned loved ones are still trying to get to the bottom of things like a Scooby-Doo mystery. Get out of the house already!

Look, Hollywood,

We’re smarter now. Our phones are smarter, our cars are smarter and all of our toys are smarter as well. It’s about time horror films get smarter too. If we start seeing intricate scary movies that pitch complex, common-sense driven protagonists against twisted, methodical killers, then maybe the industry could elevate itself beyond the shock-slasher realm it is currently trapped in.

Devils and demons aren’t helping this cause. In trying to find better bad guys, they have hired the ones we can’t see or fight. Yup, it’s about time we moved on from good ol’ Luci. We had some good times, but I’ve had my fill of your minions on screen. Let’s see what’s next on the menu.

 

Fabian can be reached at: fabiangarcia@csus.edu

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