Possessed Movie Review
On my ever going quest to explore 80’s horror, I’ve now landed on a 1983 film from Hong Kong. I knew nothing about this before pressing play on it today, so let’s see what this is all about. Possessed is set in Hong Kong, where we get familiarized with the two police officers Kung and Hsiao, played by Yu Lung Hsiao and Siu-Ming Lau.
They’ve had a few drinks and after throwing up on an amateur thief, they end up near a house where a big ruckus is going on. The man of the house is violently attacking his wife and the two cops are only able to stop him by shooting him down. The wife does not appreciate their help and thanks them by putting a dark curse on them.
The curse comes to life and shortly after, both of them and their close ones starts to get haunted by creepy hallucinations and violent attacks. Neither of them are experienced with black magic, so their only hope to survive the supernatural onslaught that are craving for their deaths is to seek out support from the religious authorities. Possessed is a strange Hong Kong horror film that takes a bit of inspiration from big American horror films of the time and tries to add a bit of a local flavor to the mix. The story is simple, but yet a bit confusing at the same time. It never grabbed me in any type of way and I couldn’t get myself fully engaged in it. But while I didn’t find all that much interesting about the plot, there are isolated moments that makes Possessed still worth the time.
These scenes are of course the horror scenes where the haunting entity gets to go wild. There are some cool effects at play here and you can feel the obvious efforts that was put into this, so it’s too bad that it doesn’t all come together in a tighter way. I would also appreciate a bit more originally as the most memorable scenes are taking more than a little inspiration from familiar classics like The Exorcist, The Entity and Poltergeist. Some of these scenes are bonkers crazy and easy to enjoy.
There’s a long sequence regarding Hsiao’s younger rebellious sister, played by Irene Wan that amps up the insanity to the maximum and again, if the non-horror stuff would have been more entertaining then they could have had something special with Possessed. I find many of the 80’s Hong Kong horror movies to be unable to build tension and keep an even tone throughout the entire movie, and Possessed is no different in that regard.
This doesn’t go as silly as many of the other ones do, but it still feels too uneven for me, making the horror scenes not land as hard as their intent was. The characters doesn’t add much either. They are easily forgettable and I found little interest in any of them, although I would not say the performances are necessarily bad. They just never connected with me.
The director of Possessed, David Lai, was only 31 years old when this was filmed and judging by the movies that this takes its inspirations from, I would guess that he was either a young horror fan at the time or a guy that at least took the time to do some research. He didn’t do much else in the horror genre, but he did reunite with screenwriter John Au a year later for a sequel Possessed 2. Possessed might be of interest to fans of 80’s Hong Kong cinema or horror fans who just enjoy all kinds of supernatural haunted house movies. While it is not the most engaging movie, it never gets boring and the crazy stuff they suddenly throw at you makes it worth giving it a watch.
Possessed gets the ok score of 2.5 out of 5. Has anyone else seen this one? If so, what were your thoughts on it? And should I check out the sequel, even though I wasn’t amazed by this one? Let me and others know your Possessed thoughts in the comment section below.