Possessor ★★★★

the allure of brandon cronenberg's possessor lies in the movie's surreal representation of traveling to and being loosened from another’s consciousness. you can get a taste of its key grotesque sequence via the film’s promotional still, which features a malformed mask of tasya’s face. it’s a symbolic product of colin fighting back to regain control of his body. on top of the revolting gore, the overall aesthetic of possessor is cybernetic futurism approaching urban occultism with spy-movie underpinnings.

brandon has made a beautiful looking film that, while thematically close to his father’s work, is strikingly different in terms of the visuals. the visuals, perhaps, are what make it feel totally alien — the scenes in which tasya and colin merge minds are fantastically done, in which their bodies melt and reform, cut between segments from chopped memories and other vague visual horrors. and, this being a cronenberg film, the gore is also fantastic and shocking. the movie goes all-in on the gore, with some of the most gruesome shots in recent memory, including, in one stomach-churning scene, a fireplace poker going through an eyeball in close-up.

dp karim hussain has made a more overtly stylish film than the elder cronenberg’s, which have a somewhat more industrial look. it’s a nice touch as it makes the work distinct in its own way, and surely it feels like a confident, slick second feature