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The Possession [2012] [PG-13] - 3.7.3



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A young girl (Natasha Calis) purchases an engraved Hebrew box at a yard sale, and she tries to open it, but her dad (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) tells her it was perhaps designed not to open. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of her parents' divorce, she adopts increasingly strange and violent behavior and the box may be the cause. Also with Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Grant Show and Matisyahu. Directed by Ole Bornedal. [1:32]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - In a home movie filmed by his wife, a husband pulls up his sweatshirt and says the house is hot (we see his abdomen briefly, and his legs below boxers); another couple watching the film suggests that sex occurred after the filming. A woman has a boyfriend in her house quite often, always fully clothed and one of her young daughters tells the ex-husband, "Brett does things for Mom you could never do," suggesting sex.
 A pre-teen dance troupe performs briefly with rolling hips and slightly suggestive gestures. A magazine picture shows the bare chest, shoulders and arms of a model. A 10-year-old girl is shown wearing nightgowns that reveal most of her bare legs in several scenes; in one scene, her nightgown is pulled up to her panties, which we see (no public hair is revealed. Two young girls wearing tank tops and short shorts lie on a bed.
 A man asks his ex-wife if another man is moving into the house and she denies this. A young girl continually asks her divorced parents to remarry and they refuse.
 A man and a woman embrace briefly.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Throughout the film, most scenes are in unlighted rooms and dreary, misty outdoor locales; eerie music plays in almost every scene, sometimes becoming very loud and suddenly stopping.
 A rabbi enters a room and finds a man's body being thrown about by invisible hands and smashed into a wall; fingers come out of the man's mouth, the rabbi yells at a demon and a hand comes out of the man's mouth and grabs his face, and a naked but featureless creature about the size of a toddler slides out of the man's mouth and crawls toward a box, after screaming into the camera with stringy hair and empty eye sockets.
 An elderly woman gazes at a wooden box on her mantle, while a mumbling voice emanates from it; the woman approaches with a hammer, the box explodes, sending the woman into writhing convulsions until unseen hands drag her and smash her head into walls and the mantle and throw her into a wall (we see her bloody face and head).
 A box is shown in a classroom at night while a teacher reads, the box seems to explode after a high wind occurs in the room and unseen hands torture the teacher by smashing her head and body into walls and onto the floor; blood pours from the teacher's eyes before she is quickly thrown out of the closed glass window that shatters and toward the camera, and then drops off screen.
 A rabbi and a family with a possessed daughter run into a physical therapy room in a hospital and begin an exorcism with chanting, rocking on his feet in prayer and scripture reading: the girl bucks and screams as wind blows through the room and she tries to strangle the rabbi, she runs out of the room and her father chases her into a dark morgue (we see bodies under sheets on gurneys, along with a bare hand, a pair of bare feet and a bluish face and head) and the girl speaks in a demon's voice saying, "Daddy you scared me" six times and attacks her father after dropping from a ceiling; there's dripping blood onto the man's feet, we see a fistfight between two shadows on a wall and the girl falls still as her father shouts at the demon to come out.
 An outdoor scene becomes quite windy as a girl stares at a man whose bloody teeth fall out; he crawls to his car and drives away backward. A young girl arguing with her father in a hallway is slapped hard several times by unseen hands, and she runs out of the house into the dark with her father following; she digs a wooden box out of a dumpster, opens it and talks to something that is mumbling unseen off camera, hundreds of moths fly into the air and down the girl's throat and she collapses. A girl goes into an MRI, lights flash in the lab, and doctors and her mother see a monstrous hollow-eyed face inside her chest; the girl screams and the camera cuts to a scene of her face down in a hospital bed under a blanket. A girl develops physical symptoms: gagging, retching without vomiting, cloudy eyes, bloody lips and teeth and pallor; she screams she sits staring into a mirror in a box and after a few days, hundreds of moths swarm into her mouth, fingers reach out of her mouth and toward the camera, and we see a whole hand moving around the inside of her mouth, indenting the cheeks.
 A girl shouts, snarls, stabs her breakfast plate and then stabs her father in the hand; he shouts, but we see no damage as he sends her to her room. A boy touches a girl's wooden box in their classroom and she screams, stands up and beats him into the floor (we see no blood); the teacher pulls the girl away and in a parent conference, and the principal suggests psychotherapy. A girl argues with a man and when she turns around to the camera, we see her eyes glazed over and she retches into the camera (she does not vomit).
 A girl pulls all of the raw food out of a refrigerator, sits in it and gulps it down (even though she's a vegetarian); she breaks all the drinking glasses on a counter and when her mother comes in she cuts her feet (we see dripping blood) and she shouts, a demon speaks through the girl saying, "She's not heeeeerrrrre!" and a dead bird flies out of the girl's mouth as a tall dark apparition rises in the background (the girl jumps into her mother's arms and the mother puts the girl to bed). A man reads from a Talmud over his daughter in her bed and winds blow in the room causing objects to hurl themselves into walls and smash until the girl's mother enters the room and throws the man out with some shouting. At lunch in a diner a girl's face is bloated as she gorges herself on a big plate of food; she tells her father that she talks to an invisible woman friend in the box and a hoarse demon-sounding voice says through the girl, "She's still hungry."
 At an empty intersection, a rabbi drives across as a large semi truck drives in fast and smashes the car; the camera cuts to a smoky scene of a car smashed flat and twisted (no body is seen) and people in the distance grimace as we hear mumbling coming from a wooden box in the foreground.
 We see a woman completely covered in bandages at her bedroom window in bed; she sits up, screams "Noooo," and smashes her hand on the window glass without breakage as a nurse jumps onto her to hold her down and a young girl outside her window looks scared and runs away.
 A man walks into a house and we hear him screaming off screen when he finds his injured mother. A man watches several videos of demon exorcisms that contain screaming, writhing women and preachers and rabbis reading scriptures.
 Moths fill a bedroom, a bathroom, a medicine cabinet and a hallway and then come out from under a bedroom door as a girl screams very loudly. A man opens a door and finds a cloud of huge moths inside, from where he carries a girl out. A young girl gets a seamless box open and finds a huge dead moth, a black bird skeleton, a human molar and rusted jewelry inside. A man finds bird bones and animal fluff. A moth is found in a girl's bed and she screams until the father kills it. A dentist takes a large human molar away from a girl. Entering their new home, two girls and their father hear breaking jars and we see food being thrown across the kitchen in the dark; we see a swinging dog door and the father says it was probably a raccoon. A huge bug crawls across a toothbrush.
 A girl wears a ring that she found in a box and it makes her hand swell and turn turquoise. A young girl takes a box everywhere with her and develops permanently glazed eyes, with dilated pupils and frequent crying. A 10-year-old girl buys a Hebrew relic box at a yard sale and begins to act distant and gloomy telling her sister, "I don't feel like myself." A 10-year-old girl becomes very pale, with black-rimmed eyes as she cries, groans and speaks in the voice of a demon frequently.
 A man is taken to a police station where a restraining order is put into place; the man yells at an attorney and the man's ex-wife beats his chest with her fists and they part company.
 We hear that a girl has a lot of allergies, breaks out in hives and may have other unknown symptoms. A girl becomes withdrawn, argues with her parents, her sister and friends; she argues with her dad and says several times, "I hate you!" A divorced couple argues continually about the ex-husband working too much and ignoring his young daughters. In a hospital hallway a rabbi says, "I hate hospitals; people die here."
 A man goes to find Hassidic exorcists and meets Hassidic Jews in prayer, they gasp at the Hebrew box he shows them and back away from it while chanting in Yiddish; the man learns that the box is a demon containment box and that no one there is brave enough to exorcize his daughter, and the rabbis murmur, gasp and chant again. A rabbinical studies professor makes fun of a Hebrew box a man shows him, but says that its creator believed in demons and exorcism, engraving the words "Danger" and "Do not open" on it. A rabbi looks at a Hebrew box and breaks the mirror in it with his fist to find a demon's name engraved in the box's top.

PROFANITY 3 - 1 scatological term, 1 anatomical term, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, weird, irresponsible, creepy, unstable), stereotypical references to men, women, children, dentists, Hassidic rabbis, divorced parents, religions, demons, exorcisms, 1 religious profanity, 10 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A father drinks from a bottle of beer at the dinner table with his two young daughters, and a woman drinks two glasses of wine and pours a third and her boyfriend mentions that she should save some of the wine for dinner.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Religions, superstitions, demons, ghosts, bad luck, families, divorce, parenting responsibilities, relationships, conflict and resolution, death, reconciliation.

MESSAGE - Parents must be involved in their children's lives.

Special Keywords: S3 - V7 - P3 - MPAAPG-13

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