Psychological Movies

Psychological Review of The Possession of Michael King

Psychological Review of "The Possession of Michael King (2014)": A Schizophrenic Perspective

The intriguing world of horror films often hides layers of psychological depth beneath their macabre facade. The 2014 movie “The Possession of Michael King” offers a fascinating case study for such dual readings. While on the surface, it emerges as a supernatural horror film; a closer inspection reveals striking similarities to the symptoms and experiences of schizophrenia, a severe psychological disorder.

Introduction to the Film and its Significance: A Schizophrenic Perspective

The Possession of Michael King,” directed by David Jung, is a remarkable portrayal of a man’s terrifying descent into what appears to be a demonic possession. However, this supernatural narrative holds much more for the discerning viewer. Beyond its chilling portrayal of paranormal phenomena, the film offers a platform for opening discussions on mental health, specifically schizophrenia. This adds a layer of realism and relevance to the film, lifting it beyond its supernatural horror genre.

The Central Narrative: A Snapshot

The film centers around Michael King, a man grappling with the untimely loss of his beloved wife. Fueled by grief and disbelief in divine entities, he embarks on a reckless quest to either validate or debunk the existence of God and the devil. This journey, documented through his lens, catapults him into a world of disturbing experiences stretching his sanity’s boundaries.

The Hidden Depths: Unraveling the Psychological Layers

Beyond its evident supernatural horror narrative, a psychological analysis of the film sheds light on the struggles of those grappling with schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder characterized by distorted thoughts, emotions, and perceptions of reality. As Michael spirals deeper into his horrifying experiences, his symptoms start aligning with the common signs of this debilitating disorder.

A Close Look at Michael King’s Experiences

To fully appreciate the psychological depth of the movie, we must delve into the key stages of Michael’s life depicted in the film.

A Glimpse into Michael’s Life Pre-possession

Before his wife’s tragic death, Michael appears to be a typical family man with a skeptical view of anything supernatural. His life revolves around his wife and daughter, and his primary concerns are rooted in the materialistic world. But this stable, mundane life comes crashing down when his wife dies, triggering a profound shift in his worldview.

The Shift: Unfolding the Signs of Schizophrenia

In the wake of his wife’s death, Michael embarks on a self-destructive path to seek answers about the supernatural world. As he dives deeper into his quest, he begins to experience auditory hallucinations and exhibits signs of paranoia and delusion – classic symptoms of schizophrenia.

Deciphering Michael’s Symptoms: A Psychological Analysis

As Michael’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, it is essential to understand the underlying psychological implications.

Hallucinations and Delusions: The Pillars of Schizophrenia

Michael begins to hear voices, which eventually control his actions. This clear manifestation of auditory hallucinations is a common symptom of schizophrenia. Furthermore, his growing conviction that he’s being controlled by a demonic force mirrors delusions often experienced by individuals suffering from this disorder.

The Progression of Michael’s Symptoms

As the narrative unfolds, we observe Michael’s deteriorating mental health. His violent behavior, interactions with imaginary entities, and inability to differentiate between his distorted perceptions and reality resonate with the experiences of people who have schizophrenia.

Portrayals of Schizophrenia: Comparing with Other Media Representations

The movie industry has a long history of portraying mental health disorders with varying degrees of accuracy. Comparing “The Possession of Michael King” to other cinematic representations of schizophrenia can further illuminate its treatment of the disorder.

“The Exorcist” versus “The Possession of Michael King”

While both films delve into the concept of demonic possession, their approach to the supernatural varies significantly. “The Exorcist” leans heavily on a religious framework to address the possession, while “The Possession of Michael King” subtly injects a psychological layer to the narrative, potentially pointing towards schizophrenia.

Realism in the Portrayal of Schizophrenia

Despite its supernatural shell, the depiction of Michael’s experiences aligns with the clinical manifestations of schizophrenia. The hallucinations, delusions, violent behavior, and social withdrawal depicted in the film provide a realistic portrayal of the disorder’s debilitating effects.

The Dichotomy of Supernatural and Psychological Elements

One of the movie’s most fascinating aspects is its successful integration of supernatural horror elements with profound psychological undertones.

Supernatural Horror versus Psychological Horror

“The Possession of Michael King” offers a chilling blend of supernatural and psychological horror. While the explicit supernatural elements keep the audience on edge, the subtle psychological cues provoke thought and reflection on mental health.

The Devil as a Metaphor for Schizophrenia

We can interpret the demonic entity that Michael grapples with as a metaphor for schizophrenia. The devil manipulates and haunts its victims, much like schizophrenia distorts the victims’ perception, leading them to behave out of character.

The Impact of Schizophrenia on Michael’s Life

An examination of the debilitating effects of schizophrenia on Michael’s personal life reveals the harrowing impact of this disorder.

Breaking down Family Relationships

As Michael’s condition worsens, his relationships deteriorate. His sister and daughter, unable to comprehend his altered behavior and mindset, gradually distance themselves. This heartbreaking scenario echoes the harsh realities faced by many individuals grappling with schizophrenia.

The Isolation and the Downward Spiral

The movie captures the destructive impact of untreated schizophrenia through Michael’s descent into chaos and isolation. His withdrawal from social interactions mirrors the common trajectory of those battling severe mental disorders.

Conclusion: The Interplay of Horror and Psychology

“The Possession of Michael King” is not merely a supernatural horror film; it serves as a nuanced exploration of schizophrenia, artfully encased within its horror narrative. Through Michael’s haunting experiences, the film provides viewers a glimpse into the harsh realities of living with this severe mental disorder, thereby prompting a dialogue on mental health issues often brushed under the carpet.

People also ask (FAQ)

Is “The Possession of Michael King” solely a horror movie? 

“The Possession of Michael King” is primarily marketed as a supernatural horror film. However, its psychological layers, particularly its portrayal of schizophrenia, lend it a depth that transcends its genre. The movie prompts viewers to question whether the protagonist’s experiences can be attributed to demonic possession or a severe mental health disorder, thereby initiating discussions on mental health.

What is the primary psychological disorder depicted in the film?

The film doesn’t explicitly identify the disorder, but Michael King’s experiences align closely with schizophrenia’s symptoms. He exhibits auditory hallucinations, delusions, and aggressive behavior, which are characteristic of this disorder. However, as with any media depiction, it’s essential to remember that real-life experiences of schizophrenia can vary widely.

How does Michael’s behavior correlate with the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Michael experiences several key symptoms of schizophrenia: auditory hallucinations (hearing voices that aren’t there), delusions (strong beliefs in things that aren’t true or real), and extreme agitation. His social withdrawal and eventual isolation further align with the common experiences of people living with schizophrenia. It’s worth noting that these symptoms often appear frightening or disturbing to others, which contributes to the film’s horror elements.

How does the film compare with other portrayals of schizophrenia in cinema?

Unlike many cinematic portrayals of schizophrenia, “The Possession of Michael King” subtly weaves the disorder into its narrative without explicitly naming it. This approach encourages audiences to draw their own conclusions about Michael’s experiences. The film refrains from sensationalizing schizophrenia; instead, it focuses on illustrating the subjective experiences of a person living with this disorder.

Can the demonic entity in the film be viewed as a metaphor for schizophrenia?

We can interpret the demonic possession in the movie as a metaphor for schizophrenia. As the demonic entity gradually takes control of Michael, he loses touch with reality, similar to how schizophrenia can distort a person’s thoughts and perceptions. However, it’s critical to avoid oversimplifying schizophrenia as ‘possession’ or ‘loss of control’ as this can stigmatize those living with the disorder.

How does the film depict the impact of schizophrenia on personal relationships?

As Michael’s symptoms worsen, his relationships deteriorate, particularly with his sister and daughter. This narrative choice underscores the severe impact schizophrenia can have on social relationships and personal connections. The lack of understanding and fear that often surrounds mental health disorders like schizophrenia can lead to social isolation and strained relationships.

Does the film romanticize or stigmatize schizophrenia?

While the film refrains from explicitly romanticizing or stigmatizing schizophrenia, its intermingling of horror and mental illness elements could potentially perpetuate fear and misunderstanding about the disorder. However, the film’s realistic depiction of symptoms and its exploration of the disorder’s debilitating effects can promote empathy and awareness.

Can the film be used as a conversation starter about mental health?

Absolutely. The film presents a layered narrative, and we can interpret it as a portrayal of schizophrenia, opening up opportunities for discussion about mental health. It encourages viewers to consider the profound impact mental disorders can have on an individual’s life and emphasizes the need for empathy and understanding.

Is the depiction of schizophrenia in the film clinically accurate?

While the film accurately presents several common symptoms of schizophrenia, it’s crucial to remember that it is a horror movie and not a clinical case study. Real-life experiences of schizophrenia are highly individual and can differ significantly from Michael’s experiences. Always refer to professional resources or consult a mental health professional for accurate information about schizophrenia.

Can a horror film serve as an effective medium for psychological analysis?

While a horror film like “The Possession of Michael King” may not be a traditional medium for psychological analysis, its narrative and character development can offer valuable insights into mental health disorders. By depicting a protagonist whose experiences mirror symptoms of schizophrenia, the film encourages viewers to explore mental health issues in a familiar and engaging format.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *