Hopefully This Will Be The Last Possession (2022)
Title: The Last Possession
First Non-Festival Release: March 4, 2022 (TV Premiere)
Director: Dan Riddle
Writer: Greg Shouse
Runtime: 87 Minutes
Starring: Stephen Brodie, Cassie Shea Watson, Sawyer Bell
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
The effects of the economy are hitting Kent (Stephen Brodie) and his family hard. After his father (Tom Proctor) dies by suicide, the family relocates from Portland to his childhood home in Texas to shield themselves from their financial difficulties. Kent’s ambivalence towards the move stems from his father’s alcoholism, which drove him away in the first place. His wife Stephanie (Cassie Shea Watson) understands but reminds him of the necessity of their fresh start. Their kids Jack (Sawyer Bell) and Gabby (Lourelle Jensen) adjust as well as they can for having their young lives upended. It isn’t until the family begins experiencing escalated paranormal activity that they question their decision to move at all.
Mild subversions on the possession subgenre of horror does little to make The Last Possession interesting or worthwhile.
Before the paranormal problems begin, the script struggles to portray the Peronis and their friends as real people. Cheesy and forced dialogue makes scenes feel confusing rather than authentic. Oftentimes, it feels unnecessary stiff and formal, out of place for both the Portland transplants and the Texas locals. The family dynamic never gets established in a believable way before the supernatural conflict is introduced. Then, the film dawdles through the remainder of its runtime, unsure of what to do after introducing the threat too soon.
There are certainly some good ideas in the script, but they never get developed. Once the antagonist is revealed, there are plenty of hints at something truly evil breaking through to cause harm. It’s also implied that this could spell widespread chaos and disaster if the antagonist wins against the Peronis. That power isn’t as devastating as one would infer, as the few moments when the film shows the antagonist with the upper hand, there isn’t much to write home about beyond the immediate implications to the family. It’s not bad per se, it’s just misleading.
Deep character introspection isn’t at the heart of The Last Possession. Most everyone arrives and leaves the same. There is very little character development afforded beyond artificial possessions. Few lessons are learned, no deeper insight is gained, and what’s little revealed does not feel earned. It’s a testament to how weak this aspect of the film is considering the only character to change is one the audience is only given glimpses of until the finale when they finally get the chance to speak. The cast is best when they are interacting with less elevated stakes. Once the horror sinks in, the overacting distracts from the terror and becomes a contest of who can react the loudest.
Interestingly, the brightest spot in The Last Possession is its filmmaking. Director Dan Riddle makes strong choices in transitions and shots that help make the film more dynamic. This is best observed in its opening shot. The camera pans as Roger Peroni saunters out of his house and onto the porch. Not long after as the frame continues to zoom out is the audience far enough away to not disrupt his private moment of suicide by gun. Moments later it flashes to present day in the same spot with Kent’s family moving into the home. It doesn’t set audiences up for the film they are about to watch, but it shows that the potential is there.
Divorced from its interesting concept, The Last Possession squanders its material by lazily rehashing the sins of supernatural horror films of its past. It makes do with its budget and even manages to showcase some potential with some choice editing and direction, but ultimately falls victim to cheesy effects and unrealized stunt work. Rough acting, dull characters, and an unforgivably stupid ending ensures that The Last Possession will not leave much of an imprint on your mind once finished. If you do find yourself possessed to watch, just know what you are getting into so hopefully it doesn’t leave you wanting.
Overall Score? 3.5/10