There are a few great movies that have “Taking of” in their title. For instance, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) is a gritty crime classic and The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991) is an angry little thriller directed by action wiz Sidney Furie. The Taking of Deborah Logan is not one of the greats. It tarnishes the “Taking” titles with a miserable stab at found footage that starts off with an interesting angle before abruptly devolving into trope territory. Aside from a gruesomely nightmarish moment at the end and Jill Larson’s ghoulish performance, The Taking of Deborah Logan is hopelessly bankrupt of fresh ideas.
When they say Deborah Logan is “taken,” they mean she’s possessed. It could’ve also just as easily been the “exorcism” of Deborah Logan. I guess director Adam Robitel and producer Bryan Singer (Apt Pupil) didn’t want to be thrown in the landfill of movies with “possession” and “exorcism” in the title, so they went with “taking.” Regardless, they do build up to the full blown demonic presence in an interesting way. The first half of the film is a medical documentary about elderly Deborah Logan’s (Larson) struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Here the movie is very grounded, as medical student Mia (Michelle Ang) documents Logan for her thesis. They talk about the disease for a while and Logan’s daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay, who played Ellen Wolf on season 3 of Dexter) explains how it’s crippled all of their lives.
The film never really does more than flirt with the topic of Alzheimer’s. It just uses it as a springboard for the “taking.” Physically, Logan’s akin to Zelda from Pet Sematary, so right off the bat I wanted to dive under the covers. When the film shifts into full blown horror, Logan is transformed into a skeletal terror. It’s a scary mutation for sure, but as the film shifts to horror, it also sinks deep into the aspects of found footage that most fans hate: shaky cam, nauseating cam, and their evil cousins, dark cam and static cam. And, like you probably guessed, the climax is shot so deplorably, you can’t see what the hell is going on most of the time.
There’s some folklore and mythology mixed in to liven up the possession tale. It’s pretty silly how Mia, a highly educated med student, buys into all of it so quickly. One minute she’s having a discussion with a neuropsychologist, the next it’s demonology and exorcisms. When we meet her, she seems strongly rooted in logic, so the sudden shift in her supernatural beliefs feels like bullshit.
The best part of Taking of Deborah Logan is one single moment during the frantic climax. It’s a shot that lasts about four seconds or so and hot damn is it something ripped straight out of a nightmare. Aside from that single shot, the film brings nothing new to the table. Avoid, avoid, avoid.