The Possessed [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (19th November 2022).
The Film

"The Possessed" (2021)

Jacob Chandler (played by John Jarratt) and his nephew Liam (played by Lincoln Lewis) have an unusual side business of helping clients in need. Jacob, who is not a minister yet has a unique ability of performing exorcisms, clearing the possessed and freeing them from demonic spirits by sending them back down to hell, all while Liam assists. Lately the number of clients have been strangely increasing, and Liam's new girlfriend Atalie (played by Lauren Grimson), who has the ability to see spirits has also noticed the disturbances.

The film opens with text that the events depicted in the film are based on true accounts, with cinematic liberties taken for dramatic effect. While that may sound like marketing nonsense, director Chris Sun worked hand in hand with so-called "accidental exorcist" Mark Gardener AKA "Charlie X" on the film's story from personal accounts. Gardener, who says to have done over a thousand clearings over the last twenty years, first met Sun during the documentary series "The Darkside Downunder" in 2019, and from there the two collaborated in producing a feature film with some of the unusual and wild happenings from Gardener's past, with his methods of hand waving, precise questioning with permission from the possessed victim to have them be rid of their demons. While there have been a number of films in the past dealing with exorcisms ever since "The Exorcist", all of them have played the religious angle of the exorcists battling demons or having an existential crisis, but "The Possessed" does a twist by having little religious context placed on the activities.

While the concept may sound fascinating, the plot and most of the characters of "The Possessed" do fall a little flat. The character of Jacob is obviously the centerpiece of the story, but much of the screentime is given to his nephew and his friends, making the young adults the focus instead. Liam and Atalie are a new couple and it almost seems too convenient that right when the demon uprising is occuring, the girl who can see demons happens to start dating a guy who helps perform exorcisms. She also happens to be a club DJ which is introduced at the start but seems like a very inconsequential detail that should have been taken further or been made a plot callback somewhere. In addition, there are the mutual friends, with Nadine (played by Angie Kent as the vlogger who wants to document the happenings, and Orion (played by Jade Kevin Foster, their gay friend who is basically the outsider looking in as the audience perspective, and also serving as some comic relief. Nadine's character would have been ideal to have in a found footage film, but here the Nadine-camera footage is used very sparingly, and is not used as effectively as one could be. Orion's character honestly has some of the funniest lines, and while it is interesting to have a character that is not part of the world and asking what the hell is going on at times, the bigger question should be why is he there at all in the first place? While each of the young adult characters have their charms in character at times, the dynamic between them and their depth is quite flat and could have been much more. There really should have been more focus on the uncle-nephew relationship between Jacob and Liam, as to how they've been operating, their immediate family members and how they've maintained their sanity. Sadly, it takes cues from the twenty-something singles demographics for the leads here.

What does shine bright (or dark) in the film is the special effects. For a small independent film, they put a lot of effort into practical effects, rather than relying on digital effects for the demons and the possessed. Make-up effects on the actors, wirework, passive puppeted creatures were designed, and the results are quite incredible. There are some obvious digital effects used, such as wire removal, smoke effects, and others that couldn't be done practically, and they are applied without intrusion. It is also a solid looking film, with the cinematography by Andrew Conder being smooth and without flashiness in technique, leaving the performers and the effects pieces to be the centerpieces, rather than camerawork. Work was well done with the visuals here in "The Possessed", but one would wish that the plot and characters had more depth.

That said, the film seems to work better if it were a television series pilot rather than a standalone feature. Without spoiling things, the end only seems like the beginning for the characters, as if there was much more to tell in later stories. It is stated in the documentary included on this disc that there are plans to expand the story with a sequel including some ideas that didn't make it into the film itself. A sequel would be welcome to expand the character relations, as that was a seriously lacking element in the feature, but a series might be a better option to have the characters go through differing challenges with each offering.

The film was shot at the end of 2020 in Queensland, Australia during COVID-19 restrictions in which the cast and crew took safety precautions seriously, and the film was completed the next year, screening for the first time on October 29th, 2021 at FrightFest in the United Kingdom. It received an Australian release in October 2022 through streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment. While there are a lot of things to admire with the concept and the effects, the characters and plot relied too much on cliches and coincidences rather than depth and surprises. Hopefully these can be remedied in the sequel, but if people are not gripped by the first, they may not want to indulge in the continuation.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray


Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio in 1080p AVC MPEG-4. Shot digitally, the feature looks excellent in the transfer here, with bold colors throughout, and deep blacks for the many dark sequences shown. Colors are stable and depth is sharp throughout, and there are no issues of compression or digital artifacts to be found. An all round excellent transfer.

The film's runtimes is 97:21.


English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo

There are both 5.1 and stereo options, both in lossless form. The 5.1 track is quite enveloping from the music in the club sequence and the jumpy moments with sound effects in exorcism sequences. Dialogue, music and effects are well balanced, but oddly, the sound on both tracks are at a slightly lower volume than usual, so it is recommended to turn up the volume just a tad bit for viewing.

There are optional English HoH subtitles for the main feature in a white font.


- Angie Kent (5:46)
- Jade Kevin Foster (6:06)
- John Jarratt (6:01)
- Lauren Grimson (5:24)
- Lincoln Lewis (6:51)
- (Accidental Exorcist) Mark Gardener (17:32)
- Romy Poulier (5:49)

Collected here are a series of interviews with the cast as well as the Gardener, the real exorcist. The actors discuss about their work on the film, working with Sun, the make-up and stuntwork, their thoughts on being frightened, behind the scenes information and more. For Gardener, who has the longest interview discusses some of his real exorcism stories and happenings, as well as about his wife, who is also an exorcist as well. Questions are presented as on screen intertitles, though in one instance with Kent's interview, "COVID-19" is mistakenly spelled as "COVD-19".
in 1080p AVC MPEG4, in 2.35:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Bloopers (4:53)
A series of mishaps and flubs from the production. These are raw takes without any matting or color correction involved.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.90:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Deleted Scene - Jacob & Carissa Bathroom Scene (1:23)
A scene with a bit of a jump scare after Jacob goes to the bathroom late at night. Color correction and sound mixing are incomplete for this scene.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 2.35:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

"The Making of The Possessed" documentary (43:32)
This lengthy well edited documentary features interviews with Sun as well as other cast and crew, along with extensive behind the scenes footage. Discussed about are Sun's initial meetings with Gardener and developing a feature film with his stories as the basic, the practical effects with the demons and their difficulties, talks of a sequel, the set construction, plus praises for the cast and crew that Sun worked with. An excellent watch.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 2.35:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

Theatrical Trailer (1:57)
The original tense trailer is presented here. The trailer has been embedded below.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 2.35:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 without subtitles

The film has also been released on Blu-ray in the United States by Shout! Factory, which we do not have specs for.

Other notable clips:

Teaser trailer

"The Possessed - Who is the Accidental Exorcist?" introducing Mark Gardener


The inlay is reversible, with the difference being the MA15+ rating logo being removed from the front cover. The packaging also states region B only, but is in fact region free.


"The Possessed" has the draw with the excellent practical effects and visuals, but this Aussie indie horror just doesn't have enough in the plot or characters to rise above other similar demonic features. The Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray features excellent video and good audio, as well as a good amount of extras including the great documentary.

The Film: C Video: A Audio: B+ Extras: B+ Overall: B-


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