Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Movie About An Atheist Making A Movie About Disproving God By Doing Satanic Things & Stuff

Michael King is making a documentary about being possessed in the movie The Possession of Michael King. (source)
I have a confession to make. Horror films scare me lots and I'm a big chicken. So I don't watch them. Anyway, there's this new horror film thing out there that seems to have a ridiculous premise around atheism. Here's a snippet from a review of The Possession of Michael King over at Variety.
As Michael (Shane Johnson, impressively committed) informs us at the outset, he’s an atheist, a condition that movies like this exist to rectify. By the next scene, his wife (Cara Pifko) is dead, partly due to advice she received from a psychic (Dale Dickey, seen too briefly), and Michael has waged a bitter one-man war on all religion, superstition and belief in the paranormal. Oddly, his campaign entails dabbling in the dark arts, participating in satanic rituals and attempting to summon the most diabolical forces known to man — all of which he captures on camera, in hopes that the demons’ non-activity will definitively disprove the existence of either God or the Devil. To say that his plan backfires would be an understatement, and understatement has no place in this silly, dunderheaded movie.
I like this opening paragraph of this review by Justin Chang because it points out the nauseatingly common trope of how atheism is something to be cured and follows through with a healthy mocking of the protagonist's ridiculous mission to disprove God. I can only assume that Chang rightly understands just how ridiculous this is and how much the creators of this silly sounding movie must not understand atheism or atheists.

I would leave it at that but we have this other review of the film over at the New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis. Snippet follows, immediately.
Dim in wits and lighting, “The Possession of Michael King” strains our eyes, spits on our intelligence and saps our generosity of spirit. Relatively untaxed, however, is the part of the brain that processes new experiences: There’s scarcely a shot or an idea in this first feature from David Jung that we haven’t seen many times before.
No doubt the atheism thing is merely a plot device to get into some totally disturbing and grody demon possession -- all the while remaining comfortably familiar if we're to believe Catsoulis.

What I find extra ironic is that even if this Michael character is an atheist, (who doesn't understand you cannot prove a negative), he still gets possessed by demons. Since when does that ever happen in real life? It always seems to be the strong believers who get possessed by demons. Well, I suppose that this single point could conceivably be the least believable part of the entire film -- which I won't see because I'm not into horror! Capiche?

I don't think I'll miss much. It turns out that Catsoulis also recommends giving it a miss.
“This isn’t what I wanted,” he moans when his eyes blacken and his bones contort. Viewers lining up to get their money back will probably be saying the same thing. 
I wonder how many church groups out there will want to use all or parts of this film in their Halloween Hell Houses? Pumpkin season is not too far away.

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