With so many awful possession films having been made in the US and UK lately, The Possession Diaries as a recent example, I decided to try something different. A found-footage exorcism film from Turkey, Dabbe: The Possession.
It’s part of a series of stand-alone films revolving around Djinn from writer/director by Hasan Karacadag. I’d heard good things about it and figured why not. They have a somewhat different perspective coming from Turkish culture and Islamic religious concepts. However, the plot is still similar enough to Western tales of possession that you can follow it easily.
Ebru (Irmak Örnek) is a psychiatrist with an interest in alleged cases of possession. She documents exorcist Faruk at work but remains skeptical. She suggests he try to exorcise her friend Kübra. She allegedly was possessed on her wedding night and stabbed her husband to death.
Things initially go well but then take a turn for the worst. It seems Kübra’s condition is somehow connected to Kıbledere, a nearby cursed and abandoned village. Things are a lot worse than anyone could imagine.
Dabbe: The Possession is not going to be for everyone. It’s found footage with a fair amount of shaky cam footage. That’s one of my big objections to found footage and it was getting on my nerves at times here. The film is also over two hours long and subtitled, both of which can also be turn-offs for some people.
If you can get past that, however, Dabbe: The Possession is worth your time. The story builds nicely with some effectively unsettling moments as Faruk’s efforts are repeatedly defeated by the Djinn. There’s also a very creepy night sequence in the abandoned town. And the ending is effectively batshit, complete with cards explaining what happened afterward. Granted quite a bit of it shouldn’t have been able to be recorded by the leads, but overlooking that seems to be part of being a found footage fan.
Dabbe: The Possession is available on Netflix as well as a couple of others in the franchise which I’ll be checking out in the near future.