Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses ★★★★

I remember when the story of Janet Moses's death first broke here in New Zealand. The reaction was one of complete shock, I was shocked, my parents were shocked, my friends were shocked, and everyone was so quick to demonise Janet's family we never stopped to think "How did this happen?" How deep does a family's faith have to be to accidentally kill one of their own out of love? This fascinating docudrama endeavours to answer that question.

What seemingly starts as fairly standard docudrama very quickly becomes a fascinating study of family, faith, and spiritualism. Particularly, how deeply our beliefs drive us in our actions.

Something particularly harrowing in this documentary is witnessing the Moses family becoming increasingly isolated in their quest to free Janet of her "demons" as they become increasingly driven by their faith and complete belief that there was a mākutu in Janet as the leaders of the exorcism began to take control. It's an incredibly psychological look at the power of mob mentality. This coupled with interspersed visions of Wainuiomata's suburbia makes this situation seem like one that could have happened to any family, and it was exactly that.

While the direction isn't always flawless you still are left with a deep insight into faith, family and hysteria. And while this documentary made me realise that what happened to Janet Moses and her family could have happened to anyone under the right circumstances one statement in this film continues to linger with me.

"Whoever wasn't in that whare at that time will never understand."

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