nad 🎀’s review published on Letterboxd:
“You have a very special nature. One we've worked hard together to unlock and refine."
mmhhhhh yes baby we love visceral body horror like this. and what a superb brooding synth score! Cronenberg successfully marries the skin-crawling gore with an equally as cerebral concept of identity politics through the deteriorating mind of one Tasya Vos, assassin-via-surrogate. as she begins to shift in her latest subject’s brainwaves it becomes obvious that this mission won’t be like the others.
not feeling like yourself is a very primal fear that i think many share with me. the uncanny sensation of not being in control, not because you’re being physically restrained but because your body doesn’t recognize itself and fails to align with the abstract shape of your thoughts. flickering montages convey the increasing spiral between Tasya and Colin as one becomes the other and vice versa. easily two of my favorite performances this year from Chris Abbott and Andrea Riseborough. they’re momentous and truly captivating.
reality and imagination blur into a bizarre haze enveloping the doubled persona on the loose. neither them nor us know who has the upper hand because as their egos duel in a grotesque internal powerplay their ids seize backhanded opportunities to break free. such a carnal film, capitalizing on the incredible sensation of audiovisual massacre while forcing you to look close for clues. it may not offer an expansive narrative but this is magnificently layered work that requires a (or multiple) rewatch to come to grips with it
Possessor is as much about the violent nature of controlling another as it is about the act of being controlled. this fluctuating terror is captured by Cronenberg in vivid displays of the vanishing boundaries between tech and body as well. the retrofuturistic theme offers cold intimacy with these character in one moment and direct unflinching terror in the next, reminiscent of other posthumanist films. i felt deeply disturbed by the beauteous aesthetic turning nightmarish so fast. call it a gracefully psychotic trip
in the end i too felt possessed and overwhelmed by my involuntary blood fever because this puts you right into that splintered space between Tasya and Colin as a third consciousness unknown to them. the friction emerging from this high-voltage contact makes for an utterly electrifying viewing experience with your whole body and soul involved. never lets up on this uneasy position of being somewhere you shouldn’t be, seeing things you shouldn’t see. being made to watch by that Other pressing me towards the red lights and sharpened paraphernalia of its hellscape
i read John Scalzi’s Lock In a while ago which is essentially about this sci-fi surrogacy premise but in the form of a political crime thriller with a whole lot more socio-economical context. if you liked this film i think you’d dig that too although it’s nowhere near the grand brutality of Possessor.