Possessor ★★★★

There's a special feeling of second-hand validation in seeing both David Cronenberg's son, Brandon, debut right out the gate with a film on par with some of the maestro-of-body-horror's own works, and seeing Brandon also draw from the works of fellow cult autuer Panos Cosmatos. You can see pieces of Beyond The Black Rainbow in a lot of younger directors' movies, (which makes me very happy), though not so well done as in Possessor's jaw dropping, and titular, "posession" scene.

It's been a long time since I've watched something this visceral. The, and I don't know how to properly describe it, but, the *weight* of body horror is hard to perfect. Physical violence is almost always too glossy, and if it's rough it's overproduced and artificial. Even in a movie that's arguably very far from horror, Cronenberg Sr.'s Eastern Promises, there's something to be said for naked Viggo Mortensen grappling around in a sauna with a nasty looking knife being more intense than many other scenes of violence from the 2000s. The vulnerability of the flesh, a casual observance of the desecration of the body, and the legacy of a man who tore Jeremy Irons in half with alien gynaecology tools, that's a hell of a thing to compare to or replicate.

In Possessor there's a welcome abundance of practical effects, not all of them look flawless but the total embrace of those imperfections makes them all the more real, in a real flesh and blood movie. Every scene of violence isn't so much sensational or shocking as it is enthralling. Brandon hasn't made the mistake of trying to get the audience scared because they're there experiencing the violence as the characters, they're scared because they ARE the audience, alone in a room, detached from the reality of the world of the film, and observing the macabre almost as Vos' mentor/boss would. It's borderline dehumanizing, that's what makes it scary, and given what that means for the projected thematics of Possessor, makes it a very smart movie.

Rye. liked this review