“The Possession of Michael King” is one of the best demonic possession films in the found footage style. The premise of the protagonist committing himself to prove that all things supernatural (ghosts, demons, angels, the afterlife in general) do not exist, is a very refreshing one.
Shane Johnson is phenomenal in the titular role and he carries the whole movie since he is in every scene of the film. The rest of the cast is also very solid, especially the various people who earn a living summoning demons or telling fortunes. However, I wish that the role of his filmmaking companion Jordan had been fleshed out some more, as we hardly get any information on him. I guess the filmmakers wanted to make clear that the focus is very much on Michael.
The direction of Hollywood scriptwriting veteran, but first-time director David Jung is outstanding and the visuals are very polished. Maybe a little too polished for a found footage film. His trick is that since Michael is a professional documentary filmmaker, he knows very well how to set up cameras and shots. Thus there are a lot of different cameras in the film, and we cut very frequently between them, almost making it look like a conventionally made movie. There are several interview scenes at the beginning which were shot so professionally that it almost breaks the found footage realism.
Besides handheld cameras and on tripods we get the security camera type angles in all of the Kings’ house rooms. Plus Michael has a Special contraption placed around his neck, with two cameras: one filming straightforward, showing his point of view and one on the side capturing Michael’s face up close. This is a clever way to highlight Shane Johnson’s great acting skills and show every detail of his emotions. I sometimes wondered why Michael would still be wearing that thing later on in the movie, so that may come across as quite a stretch to some viewers. Also, there are some night vision sections, where the reason the character would carry a camera right now did not appear really believable to me. However, These are some of the most frightening and disturbing night visions sequences you are likely to see in any found footage film.
Very much like with the visuals, the audio in this film is also very cinematic and does not care too much about found footage purity. The dialogue is very audible and clean all the time and there are several loud noises and sounds, that were very obviously added in post-production.
The plot is very suspenseful and moves along at a high pace, keeping the viewer’s interest throughout all of the 80/83 minutes. The ending is really heart-breaking and clever, and brings the movie’s themes and the Story full circle.
Highly recommended, just don’t expect a very pure and real found footage film.