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Just after midnight, a young London couple receive a visit from their
friend David who appears distraught, telling them that his girlfriend
has been unfaithful and needs a place to stay for the night. Sometime
after three in the morning, David is left downstairs whilst the others
depart. It's only whilst looking in a mirror that David sees something
out of the corner of his eye and, as he investigates, he comes face to
face with something utterly nightmarish. But this isn't his first
encounter with the horrors that lurk in the dark. He's met them
before... and now he's brought them with him to his friends' apartment.
This low budget British movie from Andrew Cull and Steve Isles has
drawn a lot of comparisons to "Paranormal Activity" which is unfair.
Whilst there are certain similarities (characters stalked within a
building by an unknown horror over a series of nights and the use of
POV shots), those similarities are quite superficial. "The Possession
Of David O'Reilly" was conceived and shot before "Paranormal Activity",
and seems to draw more influence from the works of Clive Barker and
George Romero than Oren Peli's 2007 horror movie. This is a movie
steeped in a foreboding atmosphere with long silent scenes taking place
in virtual darkness, events illuminated only by a single light source
such as a cell phone or the moon through curtains.
That's not to say that the movie doesn't have some significant
problems. Despite not using the 'lost footage' style of "Paranormal
Activity", the directors frequently film scenes from the point of view
of one of the three characters. Whilst this does add tension in certain
places, it's ultimately overused diluting the intended effect as the
movie continues. As with most horror movies, the main characters are
also prone to making bad decisions which make their situation worse and
this only serves to undermine the story in places. In addition, we are
given very little back story about any of the characters and there are
some definite pacing issues.
What's most frustrating about "The Possession Of David O'Reilly" is
that it has the potential to be a lot better than the end product
suggests. The make-up effects for the horrific creatures are generally
pretty good, and often accompanied with terrific eerie sound effects
that heighten the scares. In the main role, Giles Alderson is
fantastic; perfectly demonstrating his character's loosening grasp on
reality as events unfold. Finally, the story itself succeeds as many
times as it fails, and some scenes will definitely make you jump if
you're watching the movie in a dark room with no distractions.
However, I was left feeling largely ambivalent at the conclusion of
"The Possession Of David O'Reilly". Whilst there were glimpses of a
great horror movie at times, the absence of information regarding
several key story points, and paper-thin characterisation ultimately
makes it difficult to recommend. Fans of small, independent horror
productions such as "The Blair Witch Project", "Bug" and (in my
opinion) the inferior "Paranormal Activity" will most likely enjoy this
movie, despite its flaws, and owe it to themselves to take a look in
order to make up their own minds. All others should probably tread
carefully here, as the decidedly average script and the previously
mentioned pacing issues may not compensate for the occasional jump
scare in a darkened room when something with half a face appears in a
sliver of light.
Tags for The Possession of David O'Reilly Full Movie
, Giles Alderson
, Nicholas Shaw
, Paul McGuinness
, Zoe Richards
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