I usually scoff at ‘possession’ movies. They usually follow the same tired, done to death formula. Girl gets possessed, starts wreaking havoc, they call a priest, exorcism, blah blah blah, you know the rest. It’s a sub-genre of Horror that has been rung dry by hacks trying to duplicate what The Exorcist pulled off. I also know that many people scoff at the found-footage style of film. With good reason at that. That is also very overdone at this point. Ever since The Blair Witch Project, far too many films have tried that same formula and failed miserably. It’s rare, however, that you come across something in that same category that actually has something fresh and unique to offer. This is one of those occasions. This gem, The Taking of Deborah Logan takes the demonic possession fringe of the Horror genre and gives it a certain level of depth and darkness that’s intriguing enough to get me invested, which isn’t an easy task considering how I feel about it. This is an extremely creepy and well-layered take on the demonic possession trope with a good story and very interesting concept backing it.
The story follows a group of film makers in the process of filming a documentary on Alzheimer’s disease who go to a seemingly desolate house in what looks like the middle of nowhere (great start already) to film the life of a woman seemingly suffering from the early stages of the illness, as she has been exhibiting behavior that would indicate so under the care of her lesbian daughter. They hook the house up with cameras, set up monitors and such in a room and we see the the actions of this woman get more and more violent and disturbing as the film unfolds in a series of super creepy and unsettling scenes. As this goes on, we learn that Alzheimer’s is the least of their worries. Now at first, when the madness kicks in, it may look like your typical, run of the mill possession story, but as it goes on, we peel back the layers and reveal something much deeper that what appears on the surface.
Another cliché within the possession or even entire paranormal fringes of the Horror genre is the interjection of Satanism and the Occult, often times with no real rhyme or reason other than the protagonists just happening to somehow encounter it. In this movie however, there is a deep-rooted origin to all of what’s unfolding that is revealed throughout the film that has to do with a demonic ritual. I won’t spoil it, but it is very intriguing, especially on the second viewing. Also, as a fan of Black Metal, I can appreciate it too. The layered story that backs up the plot of this movie is the icing on the cake of an already visually and mentally gripping package. This movie contains some of the creepiest and most unsettling moments I’ve seen in quite some time, especially in more modern films and especially through a hand-held camera lense. If there’s one thing I can praise about found-footage Horror is that it can produce some of the most frightening imagery out there. Just seeing this poor old lady doing some of the things she does while in these wacked out states is nightmare fuel. Again, no spoilers for this one, but possessed old people might be scarier than possessed children. I’ll just leave it at that. And let’s not forget about the finale… wow.
(Just something so unsettling about little old ladies covered in blood)
Overall, this a very creative and compelling take on the overused and oversaturated demonic possession side of Horror. Just the freakishness alone was enough to pull me in but the storytelling really put it over. For that, this has become one of my favorite Horror films of the last 5 years at least and one of the best found-footage movies ever made. Just like when a friend of mine rabidly recommended it to me, i’ll rabidly recommend it to you! Even if you’re not a fan of the found-footage style, give it a shot. It might be worth it. Your opinion may differ from mine, but it is worth a watch. Even just for the creepiness alone. Very well done and very effective. Still to this day un-topped as far as good found footage films go.
Until next time.