I remember Michael Oblowitz’ first mainstream movie quite vividly – it was This World, then the Fireworks, a bold attempt at neo-noir as it attempted to adapt a Jim Thompson story for the screen. It didn’t quite succeed but I’d certainly regard it as an admirable failure, certainly in the screen siren casting department as it featured Gina Gershon, still smouldering from Bound, and also Sheryl Lee who had yet to really find prominence since her iconic role as Laura Palmer. Since then though, Oblowitz has stayed within the confines of DTV with a few Seagal movies in the mix as well.
All this preamble is an attempt to find some craft in what is essentially another 5 students who descend on a house to conduct an experi-blah blah blah! Right at the start of the movie we’re spoon-fed the premise which details that four psychology students must assemble at a neutral location to attempt to determine whether thoughts and ideas can be transported telepathically using 1950s para-psychological equipment. The aforementioned group of four have decided to use an abandoned property owned by Becket (Taylor Cole), who seems the leader of the group just simply because she’s the one who holds the video camera.
We’re assured that none of the group are friends, or even that familiar with each other and are purely here for the purpose of progressing on their course. They also appear to have widely differing levels of commitment to the cause, as within the first hour we see the most rebellious of the students, Lucky (Rumer Willis) slicing up lines of cocaine to assist in the task of staying up all night. Eventually they begin the experiments with one of them attempting to see something with the others all observing. Initially it’s about trying to get the person in the hot seat to recognise specific playing cards, but soon it transpires that the equipment they’re using may yield stronger visions than they could have ever predicted.
Granted, if you’re solely interested in watching Rumor Willis roam about in her pants and bra for 80-odd minutes then this bore-fest of a horror flick may well keep you entertained. If however you’d like some substance to your movie then The Ganzfeld Possession is likely to be best avoided. The story, whilst intriguing and oozing with potential to begin with soon descends into yawn inducing coke snorting and softcore lesbian teasing – all of which only seems shoehorned into the film to pad out the running time.
Infrequent voiceovers from Billy Zane and Dominic Purcell prove to be more of a distraction than actually adding any depth to the story, while the ‘visions’ that accompany them offer little in the way of horror or suspense. All in all it’s a bit of a mess which is a shame as there’s some solid talent on display here (in a non-innuendo manner!), but sadly it goes to waste in what I consider to be one of the stinkers of the year so far.