Possessor

Possessor ★★★½

Like father, like son. Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor is a dystopian gore fest. This is the sort of movie that has been missing from the landscape of horror in recent years. Not without its share of imperfections, but still a damn good film. Andrea Riseborough gives one of the best performances of her career thus far as Tasya Vos; a corporate assassin in an alternate reality who must shed what he left of her humanity in order to fully immerse herself in her work. Alongside her we have the always-outstanding Jennifer Jason Leigh as Tasya’s boss and fellow rising star Christopher Abbot as one of the key hosts through whom Tasya is tasked with carrying out her grisly business. Cronenberg relies heavily on the grit and grime of the brutal violence here and as a result, the story suffers a bit. That’s not to say the plot is bad; it isn’t. I just wish the narrative was a tad more focused and concise, but when you consider the fact that this is only Cronenberg’s second feature (and first with any sort of backing or budget), it’s a damn fine starting point for the young filmmaker.

One of my favorite things about Possessor is the way Cronenberg employs color. Though it may simply be an aesthetic choice, it was a great choice nonetheless. Thick hues of pink, purple, yellow and red neon lights fill the screen and entrance the viewer in between the scenes of extreme violence. Also, there are some incredible montage sequences à la Russell’s Altered States that really took my breath away. Brandon Cronenberg is going to be a filmmaker I’ll definitely be looking out for in the future, because after what he accomplished here, the sky is the limit. His direction is terrific and you can tell he learned a lot from his dad, while still managing to cultivate his own artistic voice. I’d be a fool not to credit the special effects team 13FFX for their outstanding work; some of the best practical gore effects I’ve seen in years! Overall, while the plot may meander a bit too much and get a little too complicated for its own good, there is a lot to love about this film. Recommended.

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