Possessor ★★★★½

"You've gone strange on me."

Body and mind grotesquely intertwine in Brandon Cronenberg's brilliant 'Possessor,' a film that obviously takes pleasure in its pain and packs on the blood, amputations and more in expert form. Andrea Riseborough plays the stoic yet talented Tasya Vos, a skilled assassin who employs brain-implant technology to enter the bodies of others, who she then uses to perform hits before committing suicide and returning to her own body. With each job, however, the neurological and psychological damage becomes greater and greater, and her latest job may lead her to snap and lose her identity completely, thanks to her latest victim, played by Christopher Abbott. Both leads do a tremendous job of showing how they are slowly losing control of their own respective realities, their minds snapping with each passing moment and confused flashing memory.

The fine detail in the actual hits is where most reviews are raving about the gore, which is delicately on display - eyeballs being plopped out of sockets, men being stabbed dozens of times, heads exploding from gunshots. The dedication to the use of practical effects is always appreciated by me and this is showcased even in the mental segues of the brain swapping sequences, where Vos' body melts and sorts of regenerates as it enters her latest victim. It's remarkable to watch, if not incredibly unsettling.

It's a brutal slow burn thriller, but if you're willing to dedicate the time to it, you'll be hooked from the opening moments and it only gets weirder and more unnerving from there. It's certainly one of the more original horror films you'll have seen in quite some time and the themes it displays and ideas at work are really satisfying to watch unfold; I would've even preferred it if the film had lasted a bit longer. I look forward to seeing more of Cronenberg's work, especially if it feels so similar to some of the work of his legendary father, David.

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