Norwegian Film ‘Possession’ Ending, Explained: Who Was The Actual Devil In The Story? What Was My’s Purpose?

“Possession,” or “Forbannelsen” is a Norwegian horror film directed by Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken. Set in 1918, during the final year of World War I, the film tells the story of a pastor who intended to build a church on a Sami (an ethnic group that speaks the Finno-Ugrian language and resides in northern and eastern Europe) burial ground after returning from his missionary work in Madagascar. The rumors claim that the evil spirits of the Sami people haunt the local settlers. So, the Reverend, Lauritz Smith, sought to perform his holy church service on the Sami burial ground to wipe off the presence of evil but the story eventually reveals where exactly the evil was.

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Spoilers Ahead


‘Possession’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The film opens in the woods, where we see a mother (presumably) talking to someone about her two little daughters. She was urging that person to take care of one of her daughters and place the other with the Reverend’s family, with the promise that they wouldn’t see each other until spring. The scene shifts to Norway’s cold landscape, where reverend Lauritz Smith and his son Oscar have returned from Madagascar to construct a chapel on a Sami burial site for a local mining company. So, the chief, Mr. Timann Flage, warned him about his activities and informed him about rumors of the evil spirits of the Sami community that were haunting the settlers. So Lauritz decided to hold his church service there. Suzanne, Lauritz’s wife, was unwell, and Agathe, his daughter, was blind. They also adopted a daughter named My, as his wife insisted, but Lauritz didn’t like her because she was a Sami girl found in the woods. Lauritz wanted his son Oscar to design the church’s construction, but Timann’s colleague Gustav preferred another architect. As a result, a rift develops between Lauritz and Gustav. Timann’s wife Mathilde, on the other hand, was repressing her sexual drive because her spouse hadn’t touched her in 5–6 years. So, after Suzanne died of a horrible illness (maybe the Spanish flu or plague), she went to Lauritz to confess her never-ending longing, which she deemed sinful, so Lauritz took advantage of her to lighten her burden. While Lauritz was busy satisfying Mathilde’s craving for intimacy by being intimate with her, his own son, Oscar, was sexualizing his own sister, Agathe. Meanwhile, when Lauritz built a primary structure for his church, Gustav set it on fire so that Lauritz would be horrified and drop the idea of building the church on that land. However, the next morning, Lauritz discovered Gustav’s bottle of liquor and understood that it was Gustav who was trying to scare him away. So, under the pretext of cleansing his guilt, Lauritz took him to a nearby river and murdered him. While claiming to be a god-worshipper, he murdered a guy, abandoned a lady after having sex with her, and his own kid did something one cannot even imagine. So let us explore the story to see if we can determine whether it was the curse of the Sami spirits on Lauritz’s family or the devil that resided in his mind.

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What Happened To Agathe? How Did Oscar Die?

Agathe was an innocent young girl who had been devastated by the death of her mother, but she knew how to manage her feelings in order to keep the peace at home. She adored her adoptive sister, My, and she never held her back from discussing dark magic or invocational concepts with her. She was extremely saddened when her father, Lauritz, caught My and ruthlessly beat her, but she couldn’t take a stand for her sister as being a part of a patriarchal society, she had never spoken against or interfered against the males, and this time too, she couldn’t muster the courage to do so. She fell in love with an employee of her father, and her family members weren’t happy with her choice. For Agathe, unlike her father and brother, the status of a person wasn’t a criteria for deciding if she could spend her life with him. One day, Oscar crossed all limits of barbarism and did something that traumatized Agathe for a lifetime. Oscar forced himself on Agathe when she was out in the snow, and My got lost in the woods. Even though Agathe was blind, she might have been able to sense her brother’s touch, and it destroyed her will to live. She consequently slipped into a coma due to the major shock and trauma. On the other side, Oscar, who was compelled to repress every single desire because of his violent and unyielding father, started to transform into an evil person. He even made an effort to convince his father to enroll him in an art school, but his father wanted him to become an architect rather than an artist. Oscar decided to stop thinking about himself when he felt trapped in his nasty thoughts and began to feel terrible about what he had done to his sister. As a result of all the guilt, he killed himself by hanging. When the Reverend saw two of his children in such a horrible predicament, he believed it was the punishment for the sins he had committed.


‘Possession’ Ending Explained – Who Was The Actual Devil In The Story? What Was My’s purpose?

The Norwegians didn’t let the Sami community own their land, and they spread rumors that the local settlers were regularly haunted by the evil spirits of the Sami people. When Lauritz came back to his house and decided to construct a church on the Sami graveyard, he explained to Timann that his motive was to bring God’s holiness to the place, but instead of that, we witnessed him committing one crime after another. When Mathilde was at her most vulnerable stage since her husband started avoiding her, Lauritz took advantage of her and got her pregnant. Lauritz considered having sexual desire a sin when he was meeting his physical needs by using a woman’s vulnerability. He didn’t even let his son, Oscar, have a social life, which caused his impulses to erupt, driving him to commit a crime. Meanwhile, Mathilde came to Lauritz to speak of her pregnancy, but he abandoned her, which devastated her so much that she committed suicide. During that time, the plague spread, and many of the mine workers became ill and died. However, Lauritz was busy fulfilling his never-ending appetite and didn’t care if his maids had eaten or visited her family. He was a malicious person whose heart was filled with greed and who had no regret for his actions. He doesn’t even think twice about killing Gustav, forgetting that his role in this society is to protect the peace. Even in his last moments, when he was aware of his guilt, he did not try to rectify it; rather, he killed Timann when he began to blame him for his wife’s death. He had a great deal of anger toward his adopted daughter, My, because of her Sami heritage. He thought My was an evil spirit because of whom his wife had died, and his children had been suffering. He thought My was conducting black magic and cursing his family, though it wasn’t My but Lauritz who was causing all the harm. The actual devil was not in My, but it was the pastor, Smith, who pretended to love God but, in reality, only loved himself and his power. Eventually, Lauritz met his demon, who possessed his daughter Agathe and spoke as his wife, blaming him for all of his family’s misfortunes. Lauritz had become a raging maniac with no self-control, so he grabbed his daughter and attempted to kill her while Anton stepped forward and saved Agathe by killing him.

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In the very first scene of the movie, a mother is talking to someone—which is probably Mother Nature—about her kids. My was one of them, and she was being placed in a Reverend’s home. Her mother claimed that she had a bigger task to do, which was never explicitly shown in the film, but I believe My’s purpose was to identify the wicked being in Reverend’s family, and it was none other than the pastor, Lauritz, himself. She believed her foster mother, Suzanne, had a lot to say before she died because she felt Suzanne was not only sick but also possessed by a demon. So, she attempted to summon Suzanne’s soul and wanted to talk to her, but she couldn’t since Lauritz kept interrupting her. She was a small girl who was curious about what was within the woods and why it drew her in so much, which was finally revealed at the end. While Anton saved Agathe and took her someplace else, My refused to accompany them since her mission, which was to punish the evil Lauritz, had been completed. After Lauritz’s death, she met her sister in the woods, who may have wanted to see her too, and this is why My was drawn to the woods. The two of them met just like her mother had said, and in my opinion, they were not any humans but two pure spirits who desired that evil be punished in order to maintain natural harmony.


Final Words

“Possession” is a fine attempt at depicting religious blasphemy and the hypocritical religious leaders who have always tormented people in the name of God, but the plotline is quite confusing and vague. It seemed like the makers tried to cover every social issue but didn’t try to explain anything one at a time. The creators highlighted numerous concerns about dwindling sexual urges to reflect the predicament of this dysfunctional family. Furthermore, the photography and background score were well done, and overall, it was a nice attempt, but the sluggish pace and unnecessary cuts would not make you feel connected to the characters or the story. Finally, “Possession” tries to express a lot but ends up confusing the viewer and fails to impact us in any manner.

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“Possession” or “Forbannelsen” is a 2022 Norwegian horror movie directed by Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken.

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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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