claira curtis’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Do you think of your wife as a predator?”
The future of sci-fi focused body horror is here and his name is Brandon Cronenberg.
With his directorial debut, Antiviral, in 2012, Cronenberg began establishing himself in the world his father so frequently dominated in a way that felt, for many reasons, far more thoughtful and successfully executed. I was drawn to his work in a way I had never been before when I stumbled upon Antiviral by accident in 2014 and have thought of it often since. I had high hopes heading into Possessor.
Cronenberg’s follow-up, diving into the realm of assassinations and subconscious transferring is one that’ll hold up well in the genres it falls into. From the first few frames, the quality of the shots shown are so breathtakingly beautiful and stomach churningly haunting. I felt transfixed by it all. Possessor’s story is a terrifying and brutally gorey one. Cronenberg is great at establishing worlds choke full of technology we’ve yet to see in real life in a way that doesn’t require excessive exposition told through dialogue. Not everything is explicitly explained in how it works but its all convincingly told so that the audience isn’t bogged down by “how?”.
There is a rage burning through the story, progressing in a way that ensures as many casualties, as much pain as possible. Almost animalistic in its presence, there’s a unique tension in how much that rage draws you in and yet roughly repels you at the same time. It’s exhilarating and it’s horrific in the way you hope a story of its kind will be.
Set beside his performance in Black Bear, Christopher Abbott has had an incredible year, giving performances that are thoroughly complex, layered, and on the brink of complete mental break. The boundaries he seems to be pushing in terms of his own emotional performances are thrilling to see. He’s definitely one we should all be keeping an eye on.