Another possession-themed found footage/mock-doc horror film,with a stronger character throughline than usual. It’s presented as material shot for a sensationalist documentary TV series that has an intervention format. Carson Morris (Lara Vosburgh), a teenage girl from a devout but non-fundamentalist Christian family, is a self-harming drug addict, and the TV folks get the co-operation of her parents (Colleen McGrann, Christopher Parker) and her rehab/group therapy facility to follow her attempt to turn her life around. Director Seth Grossman has actually worked on a TV show called Intervention which has pretty much the format of the fictional program here, and there’s a cynical, insidery edge to the incidental depiction of the sham-sympathy expressed for the subject, and the manipulative approach to her family and the folks trying to help her. It gradually emerges that Carson has turned to drugs in an attempt to cope with what she believes is a demon possessing her, and that getting clean will also allow the evil spirit more power.
There’s a nice, credible treatment of this revelation – with the rehab counsellors taking the demon as a metaphor, some of the other patients being less sceptical (though they’re all junkies, so who listens to them?) and producer Suzanne Tully (Kate Whitney) siezing on the possession angle as something to make this segment of the show stand out. Jason (Morgan McClellan), an intern with the show, forms a real connection with Carson – and, perhaps, the demon – which Suzanne is willing to exploit, though it’s also handy that he keeps filming when the family have tried to pull the girl away from the cameras so the found footage conceit can be strung out.
Glenn Gers’s script works hard on the backstory, involving Carson’s travails at a school where her beliefs make her the butt of a joke Satanic ritual – which, of course, was preserved on a camera-phone – that has led to the present situation. As with a lot of found footage films, there’s a sense that the tricksy storytelling and faux-verite business serves as excessive packaging for a very tiny, and familiar story. However, Vosburgh is very good in a complex, ambiguous role and lends the old, old tale some sort of emotional impact – though speaking-in-a-deep-voice-while-staring-evilly should probably be retired as a way of depicting demonic possession.