“Attachment” is yet another misogynistic take on the horror genre that shows a woman being possessed by a Dybbuk, a tortured human spirit residing in a living human body. Since time immemorial, movies have shown women being possessed by the devil or an evil spirit. It is high time that we address this and ask why this is so. Why should a woman always be possessed? Or why should it always be a woman who is the “ghost”? From “Exorcist” to “Ring” to “Shutter” to “Exorcism of Emily Rose” to “Conjuring” to “The Nun” to “Attachment,” it is always a woman who is the subject of possession. Of course, there are exceptions like “The Shining” but these are rare. What is the reason behind this? Is it this age-old concept of women being more emotionally vulnerable or rather emotionally weak, and another way of establishing that men are less vulnerable emotionally and thereby stronger? It seems like it, but let’s face it, neither of these is true. And maybe filmmakers need to accept it big time. Here’s more on “Attachment.”
‘Attachment’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
When Leah, an academic, bumps into Maja, a former actress, at a bookstore in Denmark, there is an immediate connection established between the two. Maja asks Leah out for a drink, and they end up in bed together. Leah brings Maja to her home in London, where she lives with her orthodox mother, Chana, but before they can leave, Leah undergoes a seizure and ends up on crutches (her left leg is injured). However, Chana seems to be annoyed with Maja for some reason and makes it very clear to both Maja and Leah. She clearly doesn’t want Maja around Leah, or so it seems. She is overprotective of her daughter, and Maja, intending to get better accustomed to the Jewish faith, and by extension, Leah’s mom, visits a local bookshop that is owned by a guy named Lev. Meanwhile, day after day, Chana’s behavior gets increasingly irksome for Leah, as she becomes more and more concerned for her daughter. On the other hand, Maja also starts having unusual experiences, like footsteps and weird objects around the house, as well as Leah’s abnormal behavior. Is there an “attachment” between Leah’s behavior and her mother’s? Maja has to figure it out herself.
The Outsider Theory
When it has been only a few days since you met someone “special” and end up in that person’s home in a different country, being on the receiving end of an indifferent attitude from that person’s parent, who is religious, can be a bit too much to take in to say the least. So naturally, when Chana behaves the way she does with Maja, we look at it from the traditional perspective, so to speak. As Chana shows more and more of her indifferent attitude, Maja decides to try and bridge the emotional gap between them by trying to know more about Judaism. This is when she meets Lev, who, we find out later, is Leah’s dad’s brother. He enlightens her about Jewish mysticism, including the pendant that Leah’s mother gave her that wards off evil, an amulet containing the names of gods she found in Leah’s house that protects children, and a book named “Sitra Achra” that deals with the “other side” (supernatural things).
In this book is the mention of Dybbuk, a tortured soul that possesses a person for its own motives, and the only way to exorcise it is to find out what it wants. All this Maja finds amusing, but she doesn’t take any of this into consideration as far as Leah is concerned. But this outlook of hers begins to change when Lev pays a visit to Leah’s house, and Maja finds out that Lev, Leah, and Chana are related. Perhaps it is, in fact, Maja’s involvement that led Chana and Lev to address Leah’s issue. Had it not been for Maja, Lev wouldn’t have come into contact with Chana seemingly after so long, and they wouldn’t have decided to help Leah get better. In this way, the film does provide the perspective of how an “outsider’s” perspective often plays a vital role in making things clearer than they are deliberately made to seem.
‘Attachment’ Ending Explained – What Happened To Leah? Is The Dybbuk Sent Back To Its Realm?
It is finally toward the end of the film that we find out that it is not Maja who is in question here but Leah herself. She was the one possessed by a Dybbuk for years, and her mother, Chana, and brother Lev have been trying to keep that entity at bay. Then why is it that both have decided to carry out an exorcism at this point? Is it because they have realized that it is high time, or is it because the Dybbuk seems to have found its new vessel in Leah? This might be the case since she brought home a friend, a girl when she was 7 years old, and that girl is the one we see Chana trying to wake up (multiple glimpses). Leah might have killed the girl. Be that as it may, it seems that Leah has to be attended to.
During the ritual, the Dybbuk reveals that it has been with Leah for 20 years. So, if we consider the deaths of the people killed by Dybbuk as we see in the film (the little girl who was Leah’s friend, the black cat, and its aged owner), we can easily say that it has killed many more without Chana or Lev finding out about them. Perhaps, even Maja was not someone that Leah fell in love with but the Dybbuk. Towards the end of the ritual, the Dybbuk reveals that if it leaves the circle (made by Lev and his co-mystics), it is Leah who will die, and if Lev and his friends stop the ritual, they will die along with Maja and Chana. So, when the Dybbuk deliberately leaves, Chana holds Leah up, puts her down outside the circle, and puts herself inside it. So, when the devourer comes to devour, it takes her soul (the soul inside the circle) and not her daughter’s, thereby sacrificing herself to save her daughter. The film ends with Leah and Maja moving out and Maja taking the objects used in the ritual with her just as a failsafe in case the Dybbuk returns, or so it seems.
Coming back to the whole woman being possessed issue, something that we mentioned in the intro, the question remains as to whether the Dybbuk was male or female. Although, religiously speaking, it seems that the entity that possessed Leah was male, as it was apparently motivated by love and attraction, we cannot negate the possibility that the entity might also be female, in which case the misogynistic POV returns to make itself heard. Why did the Dybbuk, just like all its predecessors in all the previous horror films, possess a female and not a male? And why are the mystics all male, like all the fathers and priests? Should we question ourselves about this, or should we question our faith? Or is there a Dybbuk lurking somewhere who can answer this?
“Attachment” is a 2022 horror thriller film directed by Gabriel Bier Gislason.