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Film / The Taking of Deborah Logan

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The Taking of Deborah Logan is a 2014 Found Footage horror film presented as a documentary. A group of 3 college students - Mia, Gavin, and Luis - head to Exuma, Virginia to live with an aging Alzheimer's patient, Deborah, and her daughter Sarah to record the progression of the disease, as well as the toll it will (hypothetically) take on Sarah to give the level of care needed to her mother as she deals with the illness. However, as the illness worsens, Deborah starts to exhibit signs of something else altogether.


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"The Troping of Deborah Logan":

  • Adult Fear:
    • It's arguably worse seeing Deborah as an Alzheimer's patient than it is as a victim of possession. Seeing her threaten Gavin with a knife is particularly frightening, as it could actually happen if someone didn't recognize a stranger in their home.
    • Deborah's work as a switchboard operator when she was younger was what allowed her to hear about Dr. Desjardin's plans to use her daughter as part of a Human Sacrifice that would grant him immortality, but felt she couldn't go to the cops due to just how insane that plan sounded.
    • We also see Kara's parents dealing with this after Deborah (possessed by Dr. Desjardin) abducts their daughter.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Sarah is a Butch Lesbian (flannel shirts, liked cars and softball as a child, etc.), but it's only implied that she'd had a relationship with Sherriff Tweed prior to leaving her hometown.
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  • Animal Motifs: Desjardin seems to be associated with snakes and they show up at various instances during the film. Interesting enough when they get through the tunnel system and find the cave where a possessed Deborah and the little girl are, you can see Deborah trying to swallow the girl headfirst like a snake, with her jaws completely distended and fully encasing the girl's skull.
  • Asshole Victim: Dr. Desjardin was a serial killer who abducted and ritually sacrificed young girls in an attempt to give himself immortality. When his next intended victim's mother got wind of his plans, he had more than earned the grisly death she gave him.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: They manage to exorcise Deborah, but turns out the Desjardin was able to possess the girl she'd kidnapped, helping her make a "miraculous recovery" while leaving Deborah herself on the hook for said kidnapping, and her health quickly fails afterward.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Deborah's job as the switchboard operator for the town was what led to the events of the movie.
  • Demonic Possession: Of the "vengeful spirit" variety.
  • Direct-to-DVD: It got released directly to streaming services and DVD.
  • Fan Disservice: At one point, Deborah gets up in the middle of the night and strips naked to go to her old switchboard. She's skinny, elderly, and with a rash on her back, though nothing explicit is seen due to the angle. In the following scene, her robe is open, exposing her nipples as her doctor checks her vitals, but again due to the context it is the opposite of tantalizing.
  • For Science!: Part of Mia's motivation to stick around, as the video project is part of her doctoral dissertation about the tolls Alzheimer's takes on those taking care of the afflicted.
  • A Friend in Need: Why Mia refuses to leave Sarah at the end even though other members of her film crew have already gone Screw This, I'm Out of Here!
  • Found Footage Films: See above.
  • Human Sacrifice: What Desjardin was killed for, and what he possessed Deborah to complete.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: During the climax, Sarah screams for her mother to fight back against Desjardin's possession. It apparently works and Deborah gets a hold of herself just long enough for Sarah to destroy Desjardin's remains.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You: Sarah shifts into this during the climax, with her rage and worry over her mother overpowering her fear. This is even more apparent when Sarah and Mia are forced to crawl through a small tunnel that is filled with numerous snakes. In previous instances Sarah has shown quite a lot of fear towards the reptiles, however when one lashes at her when she's crawling down the constricting space she straight out smacks it away, angrily shouting, "Back the fuck off!"
  • Mama Bear: Bet you regret targeting Deborah's daughter now, huh Desjardin?
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: How the more supernatural elements start off being presented, until it becomes abundantly clear that it's not just Alzheimer's disease. The first scene that changes it firmly to Magic is when Deborah teleports to the kitchen counter.
  • Powers via Possession: When Deborah becomes snake-like near the end, with a handful of instances earlier in the film.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Defied the first time it's attempted (following Deborah threatening one of the cameramen with a knife), but followed through later on. Twice.
  • Shown Their Work: The science of Alzheimer's disease is discussed and Jill Larson provides an excellent performance as a sufferer. Particularly of note is her first tantrum about her lost spade - an example of 'sundowning', where sufferers can become more irritable, aggressive, and abrasive in the evenings.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer gives away a fact that's first revealed halfway through the movie.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes show up quite a lot, including when they're trying to burn the sack containing Desjardin's decaying body. They fail and numerous snakes coming slithering out and naturally the cast freak out. Later on when they're in the cave system they know they're getting closer to where Deborah is as they find a tunnel filled with numerous snakes.

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