The Possession of Joel Delaney

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Joel Delaney (Perry King) was raised around wealth and privilege, as part of Manhattan’s social elite. As an adult, he left Central Park West behind and moved to the East Village, as part of his desire to help the less fortune. He is a kind, if a little timid man and his intentions are good. He remains close to his sister Nora (Shirley MacLaine), who is the first to notice when Joel’s behavior begins to take a horrific turn. A violent incident lands Joel in a mental ward, but this is just the start of his madness, as he soon speaks languages he never could before and his sadistic persona continues to grow. Nora tries to find answers, but finds only a string of dead acquaintances, killed in brutal, ritualistic fashion. Has Joel just become this monster overnight, or is there a darker, unknown force behind his recent behavior?

This movie was an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of Rosemary’s Baby, but The Possession of Joel Delaney is actually a solid supernatural thriller. Despite the inherent familiar elements, this film is able to stand on its own and I am surprised Paramount never released it in one of their horror promotions. The atmosphere is tense and the New York scenery is great to take in, not to mention a good story and great performances. You need atmosphere in a movie like this, so the slow dread that builds is effective, bolstered by Shirley MacLaine’s terrific performance. She doesn’t mail this one in and her presence elevates the material, without a doubt. The story isn’t a landmark one, but the attention to detail is good and the small touches that help develop the characters are much appreciated. So The Possession of Joel Delaney might not be a classic, but if you’re a fan of this style of horror, it is well worth a look.

Video: How does it look?

The Possession of Joel Delaney is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer looks good, much better than I had expected. The image has solid depth, which means good detail and the print isn’t pristine, but it looks clean. The colors have held up well, so hues look natural, while contrast performs well throughout. A few issues crop up now and again, but for the most part, this movie looks quite good here.

Audio: How does it sound?

Not a lot to talk about here, just a basic mono soundtrack. The elements come across well enough, but this is mono, so there isn’t much life in the audio. The dialogue is clear and never hard to understand, while the music and other sound effects are always passable. So not much spark, but it handles the basics well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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