Sober-minded at its outset, WITCHBOARD: THE POSSESSION eventually loses its way amidst a rash of satanic special effects executed too literally to frighten jaded viewers. A certain dimension in suspense is lost when a levitating soul starts spinning like one of David Copperfield's
Unemployed stockbroker Brian (David Nerman) regards the sorcery-related artifacts of his overly-friendly landlord, Francis (Cedric Smith), with skepticism. After Francis introduces Brian to the powers of his Ouija board, however, Brian is hooked. Bone-weary of his own deal with the devil, Francis
kills himself and bequeaths to Brian his supernatural knickknacks--and his close relationship to fertility demon Nargor. Hooked on Ouija-inspired deal-making, Brian is unable to repay a loan from sadistic usurer Mr. Finch (Addison Bell); when Finch and his elite staff try to harm Brian, Nargor
wipes Brian's attackers out.
The next day, Brian makes a different sort of killing in the stock market. In exchange for Brian's financial windfall, Nargor sucks the soul out of Brian. This is only a prelude: Nargor then impregnates Brian's wife, Julie (Locky Lambert). With the "real" Brian trapped in a mirror, Nargor inhabits
his body, wows Julie in the sack, and sexually harasses Julie's friend, Lisa (Donna Sarrasin), whose rejection of the demon's sexual advances results in Nargor's slicing Lisa to death in her shower with broken glass. After Brian's soul communicates with Julie via the Ouija, Julie solicits advice
from Francis's widow, Dora (Danette Mackay), who gives Julie a magic talisman--which will only work if Nargor's ring finger is removed. After Nargor stabs Dora to death, he re-materializes as an actual demon, and Brian finally sends Nargor back to Hades by shooting him with Dora's talisman,
propelled by an ancient crossbow.
A creepy morality tale about yuppie greed, WITCHBOARD: THE POSSESSION gets all its preliminaries right: engaging characters, a believable seduction by evil, upsetting coincidences that could have a logical, non-supernatural explanation. After creating a Polanski-like tension (especially in the
scene where Francis calmly jumps to his death), the film pumps itself up needlessly with excessive special effects. Before the visual trickery gets out of hand, there is one superbly executed sequence in which amateur lepidopterist Finch gets pinned to death by his butterfly collection. After that
highlight, the movie lays on the technical wizardry too thickly and pauses too often to peep at Julie being serviced by Nargor-as-Brian. If fans can stifle disappointment at WITCHBOARD taking the crowd-pleasing line of least resistance, the film has moments of high energy and a secure sense of its
own intrinsic, non-campy, seriousness. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Sober-minded at its outset, WITCHBOARD: THE POSSESSION eventually loses its way amidst a rash of satanic special effects executed too literally to frighten jaded viewers. A certain dimension in suspense is lost when a levitating soul starts spinning like o… (more)