Network Premier: October 22, 2000


“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.

Dove Review

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

Content Description

Language: Jesus 1, Jesus Christ 1, M-F 2, with the possessed boy using the F-word countless times, along with other obscene words, during his demonic seizures; SOB 1, bitch 1, bastard 1, S-word 1 – Drinking: the conflicted priest struggles with drink, until he regains his calling, then he tosses a full bottle of whiskey in the trash – Smoking: several characters smoke, including a priest -- Violence: the priest gets in two fistfights, one with the police; WW2 scenes depict a scared man dying and another stabbed with a bayonet; the possessed boy cuts and stabs a priest; the possessed boy contorts in pain, throws furniture around the room, etc; strife in the home; the unbelieving husband, who has obviously turned his back on the church, is rude to the priests


Company: Showtime Networks, Inc.
Writer: Michael Lazarou, Steven E. de Souza
Director: Steven E. de Souza
Producer: Barbara Title
Genre: Horror
Runtime: 110 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright