There have been so many movies like this one lately that it might be time to consider them a new genre, what might be called film Pinot Noir, movies whose ideas and casting look good on paper but that end up looking as if they were made by drunks. REPOSSESSED is a prime example. As ideas
go, the one behind this film is better than average: Sign up Linda Blair, star of THE EXORCIST, and place her at the center of a sequel spoof in which she plays a sweet suburban housewife who is possessed by the Devil. Is it any surprise that Blair was game? Since vomiting pea soup, twisting her
head around, and talking like Mercedes McCambridge in the 1973 William Friedkin shocker, she has starred in a string of B movies ranging in quality from mediocre to dismal. A starring role in a clever satire of the movie in which she made her name would seem to be just the ticket to get Blair back
into the moviemaking big leagues. Toss in Leslie Nielsen as a costar, add veteran Ned Beatty in support, and it would appear that Blair finally had another winner on her hands, right? Wrong. With REPOSSESSED Blair's luck remains unchanged. At least the awfulness of the film isn't the fault of the
actors; however, those who worked behind the camera on this one deserve to do some heavy penance.
What plot there is concerns suburban housefrau Nancy Agler (Blair), a grown-up version of THE EXORCIST's Regan. One night, while watching a pair of Jim-and-Tammy-like evangelists (Beatty, Lana Schwab) on TV, Nancy is again possessed by her old nemesis, the Devil. From the safety of a classroom
podium, Nielsen, as Father Mayii, recounts much of the mayhem that ensues, allowing for plenty of laboriously wacky reactions shots. Father Brophy (Anthony Starke, playing the Jason Miller role to Nielsen's Max Von Sydow) tries to convince his superiors to sanction another exorcism, then stands by
helplessly while Ernest Weller (Beatty) undertakes the exorcism as part of a live TV broadcast. An extended sequence in a health spa follows, featuring a cameo appearance by exercise-guru-cum-sitcom-star Jake Steinfeld and plenty of leering closeups of skimpily clad cuties who work out and then
hop in the shower--all of which is, of course, integral to the plot. We are told that Father Mayii has come to the spa to get in shape for the exorcism, but then he ends up watching it on television. Even more indispensable to the storyline is a sequence in which various religious leaders chase
Nancy around the TV studio. While this sequence clearly provided some work for the Pope John Paul II and Dalai Lama lookalikes who appear in it, it has, like so many of the film's sequences, little to do with anything else that transpires in the film. Actually, by about the movie's halfway point,
most viewers won't care what's happening on the screen. Needless to say, Good wins out.
Everybody else loses, especially the audience. Through it all, Blair still twists her head with aplomb, and her satanic leer and McCambridge growl haven't diminished with age. But what's most remarkable is the professional poise she maintains as the movie sinks around her. And she needs all the
poise she can muster in a film that doesn't provide a single good laugh in its entire 90-minute running time. Even the makeup is horrendously cheap-looking.
Having somehow coerced Nielsen into participating in the project, writer-director Bob Logan attempted to fashion REPOSSESSED into an AIRPLANE!-style farce. What he ended up with is a mess. To say that his work isn't on par with that of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team that made the films that he is
desperately trying to imitate is a colossal understatement. The only really good thing that can be said about REPOSSESSED is that it makes EXORCIST II look like a classic. To hell with it. (Profanity, brief nudity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: There have been so many movies like this one lately that it might be time to consider them a new genre, what might be called film Pinot Noir, movies whose ideas and casting look good on paper but that end up looking as if they were made by drunks. REPOSSES… (more)