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The Possession of Joel Delaney Reviews

Page 1 of 1
October 15, 2010
Shirley MacLaine's brother finds himself possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer and she throws herself into the idea of understanding Voodoo in an effort to save him. This can-do attitude falls by the wayside towards the end of the film and she ends up being more typical shrieking female, which is a disappointment.

Worth a watch, but it won't be your new favorite film or anything.
February 20, 2013
Plot: Rich white woman (MacLaine), is forced to confront minorities in 1970's New York as she investigates her brothers possession!
Theme: All minorities are otherworldly!
Evidence of theme: Sequence in which MacLaine has panic attack surrounded by minorities on Lexington Ave !!! Hahahahaaaa.
Loved it!
MrKrantz
October 11, 2004
Shirley Maclaine is Norah Benson, a New York socialite who slowly comes to realize that the spirit of a madman has taken over her brother's body in "The Possession of Joel Delaney". That short plot summary is the kindest thing I can think of to say about this movie, one of the most offensive I have ever seen. Now, I can be offended by something and enjoy it; [i]South Park[/i] has offended me on more than one occasion. But [i]South Park[/i] is smart and it never fails to entertain me and make me think, and through its very nature should offend everybody at some point. Watching "The Possession of Joel Delaney" just made me feel dirty. First there's the question of Norah's relationship with her brother Joel (Perry King). The movie attempts to mislead you at the beginning by having the two show up at a party together. Party guests comment on Norah's having traded in her ex-husband for a younger man. She looks on jealously as Joel spends time with a beautiful blonde. After the movie does everything but flat out tell us there's a romance going on, we find out they're siblings. But then the film continues to build on an incestuous subtext through brother/sister horseplay in a shower, jealous interrogations about lovers, and near kisses. There are scenes in this movie that MacLaine would refuse to play if real life brother Warren Beatty had been playing Joel. It would be fine if the movie had anything to do with incest, but there's nothing in the story that requires that sort of relationship, and it just makes the audience feel more uncomfortable than needed. Maybe that was the goal; a thriller should make the audience uncomfortable. It shouldn't, however, make the audience want to turn it off. There's also a nasty racist subtext going on. The movie contains a Puerto Rican voodoo cult. I was not aware that voodoo was that big among the Puerto Ricans, but I imagine the filmmakers could tell how racially insensitive the movie was, and decided not to offend anybody in the black community by making the cultists Haitian. The Puerto Rican people are constantly spoken of in derisive asides, and a boring ritual Norah attends comes off as embarrassing to everyone involved. Once the dead man has completely taken over Joel's body, he decides to go after Norah and her two children. Rather than take her son and daughter to someplace safe, though, like their father's house, she decides to take them to a remote beachfront cabin - the perfect place to get away and be chased by a killer without the interference from any police. The final confrontation in the beach house takes the movie to even deeper lows, with a couple of scenes bordering on child pornography. Shirley MacLaine must be ashamed to have this waste of film as part of an otherwise distinguished resume. Waris Hussein directs the movie so that it looks like a low-budget made-for-TV movie on videotape. I know this isn't the case because in the final credits we're told this movie was "[i]film[/i] entirely on location." They should have left the film there.
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