“The Last Possession” Will Win You Over in the End
There’s quite a premise to feast on in Dan Riddle’s The Last Possession, his second film and first directed feature in a decade. It’s just doled out in a remarkably lopsided way here. But a film is never entirely its premise; there is always something working underneath the surface of that premise that delivers the real goods of the story and is what defines what truly is at stake. These stakes can build when a character is triumphant or become demolished when things go wrong, putting the audience at roughly the same emotional kinetic level as the character in question.
This could take place in the form of a simple set-up, for a positive or negative payoff through to the end, or a rollercoaster of strung-together events that outline a rapidly changing environment that not only the character adjusts to but the audience as well. The point is the purpose of the narrative is not to carry its premise on its own, that just gets you to sit down and start watching. The Last Possession is certainly good at getting you to do that. Everything that connects the film’s premise to the way it delivers on that unfortunately doesn’t engage as well.
A family moves in to a house where a paternal family member, who lived alone, has committed suicide. The man’s son is the father of this family, and the move to the new house seem undesirable to them as a whole. The dynamic between the family members is relatively stilted, the parents take the first opportunity to threaten punishment on their kids whenever drama presents itself. It feels a bit much to be honest here, and it takes the forefront of any familial drama that populates the front half of the movie.
Sprinkled very slowly among this drama in the first half are encounters of a spectral entity of some kind, with glowing red eyes and an inhuman form. The daughter Gabby communes with the spirit of her grandfather as a positive presence, but when she sees an alien handprint on her bedroom window she begins to get scared. But the kids are the only ones who are targeted by this malevolent entity. When the parents ask what happened after either child (or both) are spooked to the point of screaming, running or a combination of the two the parents immediately enter punishment mode. There’s not much happening over the course of the film for the most part here.
The father, Kent, works in a research lab somewhere (it never becomes clear) and connects with a coworker there who mentions that his grandma could help his family with the spirit or entity that seems to be haunting them. Of course this happens since there’s virtually no other character there with the agency to help, and it’s from here that the movie blasts off into genre madness that lesser films promise on their posters or box art, never to reach that wild & ridiculous moment promised as pictured.
While the lead-up to this climax is more than drawn out its visuals play out to ridiculous effect — in a good way. The inhuman entity (read: alien) is fully practical and is for all intents and purposes a pretty good-looking suit. It honestly just looks a tad cheap in the flashes and glances early on but for some reason more exposure during the finale surprisingly does it some real favors. The events that transpire leading up to this finale evoke similar moments from The McPherson Tape or Alien Abduction, and their mirroring here indicate that fans of the malevolent alien subgenre will certainly get something out of the outlandish final sequence of The Last Possession. I know I did.
The Last Possession, starring Stephen Brodie, Cassie Shea Watson, Tom Proctor, and Patricia Rae, will be available on the Terror Films Channel on Friday, March 4th followed by a digital and VOD release Friday, March 11th.