Possessor ★★★★

Best 2020 Horror - Ranked
Best of 2020 - Ranked

Man I’ve been looking forward to this one.  With the exceptions of Synchronic and Tenet, this was probably my most anticipated movie that was left on the 2020 schedule.  Of course since there are no theaters or drive-ins near me, I had to wait until its VOD debut this week.

I’ve only seen part of Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral and I dug it and have it in my watchlist to revisit, but the premise, cast and early word on this one had my super excited.  An ultra violent, head trip, sci-fi horror mashup.  Right up my alley indeed.

While I definitely dug this, it is yet another example of the risk of high expectations.   Nonetheless, this is a beautifully shot, well executed, impeccably acted and subversively violent.   It may not be the instant classic I imagined, but with echoes of his father’s work and a style all his own, it certainly delivers the goods and Cronenberg Jr. Is undoubtedly and important new voice in Horror.  

Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbot at stunning in the lead roles.  Abbot in particular does a remarkable job of playing out the battle for control inside his brain.  Jennifer Jason Leigh is suitably nefarious and grim as Riseborough’s “handler” and the rest of the cast is terrific in smaller roles.

Subversively sexy at times with unapologetic male nudity, deeply creepy set pieces and deliriously gory practically effects are all interwoven with the well executed drama of consciousness hijacking corporate assassin battling with her host as she begins to lose control.  Cronenberg depicts this a variety of unsettling ways all of which are shot with an artist’s eye.

In the end, despite the abundant gore and violence, the most upsetting part of the film may be how the ending plays out, discarding modern boundaries of what a movie can and can’t do.   

I’m looking forward to the 4K HDR disc I have pre-ordered.  This is a film whose visuals certainly warrant that treatment.

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