“Possessed,” based on the true story of the only documented exorcism performed by the Catholic church in modern-day America, premieres Sunday, 10/22/00 at 8 PM (ET/PT) on Showtime.
After the death of his Aunt Hanna (Piper Laurie), several inexplicable and frightening events take place around Robbie Mannheim (Jonathan Malen) – including screaming obscenities in a voice different from his own and summoning the power to thrust furniture at those who bully him at school. His parents turn to science and medicine to try and help Robbie but to no avail. In desperation, they call on Father William Bowdern (Timothy Dalton), a professor at the Jesuit-run St. Louis University.
After listening to the Mannheim family’s plea for help, Bowdern agrees to put his own troubles aside and try to help. He decides to perform an exorcism even though his own mental stability may be at risk.
Does this sound familiar? I’m surprised the producers didn’t get Linda Blair to do a cameo. Based on a true story, the film is nearly a duplicate of the superior “The Exorcist.” Here, the child is a boy, but we have the same story structure, including a priest struggling with his own faith and a household of nonbelievers. There is a scene depicting the child playing with an Ouija board, just as Linda Blair’s character did in “The Exorcist.” There’s even a duplicate shot of a priest walking up to the front door, as we saw in the poster of “The Exorcist.” Along with credible performances, this TV-made film does make some important statements. For example, although the priests doubt themselves, ultimately they will defeat this ordeal because God is in control. “If God is with us, who can prevail against us.” The film also discusses Christ and his suffering for mankind. And, in an effort to explain how a person opens himself up to possession, this film, like “The Exorcist,” depicts the innocent child playing with an Ouija board game. I have always maintained that we should not use Ouija boards for entertainment purposes. It deals with the occult. I think the Word is clear about such practices. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.” Leviticus 19:31