(dir. Adam Robitel)
|Eagle Films/Millennium Entertainment|
A documentary crew making a film about a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease soon finds themselves in the midst of a terrifying case of possession.
At one point or another we’ve all feared sickness, either in ourselves or in others. It’s a basic fear that stems from our need to have control. Adam Robitel’s directorial debut is based not only around these notions of control, but also the past and how family history can bring both chaos and illness. Where The Taking of Deborah Logan differs from many other contemporary tales of possession is that it balances the emotional arc of its central characters with genuinely terrifying moments. Gone are the familiar exorcisms, and Christian symbolism, instead replaced by the unfamiliar and frightening primal lore of witch doctors and serpent worshiping. There’s a sense of history and weight to Deborah’s “taking” that never feels like a run-of-the-mill introduction to demonology and possession.
But this sense of unsettling secret history only works as well as it does because the film first establishes a grounded mother/daughter relationship. The love and misunderstanding that Deborah, and her daughter, Sarah, display for each other feels genuine and the camera’s capture of these moments provides an anchor so that when shit hits the fan (and oh, it does), Sarah’s efforts to save her mother, alongside the camera crew, have power behind them. Once we start following our characters around in the dark and Deborah’s condition progresses, the tension never lets up. The film’s continual interest in its characters, everyone from the camera crew to the police officers, make The Taking of Deborah Logan a viscerally frightening experience where we care about more about people than when the next jump scare is coming.
Scare Factor: 4/5 The Taking of Deborah Logan explores body horror as not only a transformation of the flesh, but of the mind and soul as well. It’s an essential found footage horror film that’s genuinely chilling and delivers a climax that contains one of my favorite recent horror moments.
*Available to watch on Netflix Instant
**As part of Audiences Everywhere’s series of interviews with contemporary horror directors about the current horror landscape, I had the pleasure of interviewing The Taking of Deborah Logan director and co-writer, Adam Robitel: http://www.audienceseverywhere.net/last-great-magic-trick-adam-robitel/