In Possession (1984)
Feature length episode of “Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense”
Article 5884 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Val Guest
Featuring Carol Lynley, Christopher Cazenove, David Healy
What it is: An intriguing enigma that turns irritating
A married couple find themselves having visions of an event involving an old woman, her husband, her daughter and murder.
At the heart of this story there is an intriguing enigma. Both members of a married couple are seeing visions of events that overlay the places in their current life, and unraveling the nature of why they’re seeing what they’re seeing is where most of the fun of this one should be. It even has a decent final twist. So why am I not quite satisfied with this one? It’s because the script makes what I feel is a tactical mistake; instead of making the unraveling of the enigma the center of the story, it chooses to emphasize how scary it is. And when you get right down to it, though what happens is distinctly unsettling, it’s not out and out terrifying. Yet the second half of the movie mostly consists of these two characters running back and forth all over the place, screaming, and being generally panicky. After awhile it simply gets irritating; I’m much more interested in finding out what’s going on than I am in how scared these two are. It appears this is one of the two highest-rated episodes of this uneven TV series, and I’m willing to say that it earns that distinction. Nevertheless, I feel it would be a lot better if it was focus was on other aspects of the story than the ones it does emphasize.