Possessor ★★★½

"You have a very special nature. One we've worked hard together to unlock and refine."

Gross-out ickiness isn't all Brandon Cronenberg, the heir to his father's body horror empire, asks us to stomach with Possessor. Disgusting imagery is certainly a major, ghoulish presence in his film but what ultimately commands more attention than those well-crafted visceral shocks is the group of viciously amoral characters that facilitate and carry them out. More so than his father's creations (that I've seen thus far, that is), these are some truly unnerving sociopaths who reflect profoundly disturbing darkness. It's a credit to the consistently terrific Andrea Riseborough (the genre stalwart is impressive as ever here) that I was able to connect with her Tasya at all despite having every reason not to. Perhaps the best thing about this for me, though, is Christopher Abbott, who absolutely stuns with his work. Possessor marks an undeniable showcase for his talent that will hopefully give him enough capital to finally break into more and more worthy projects. Cronenberg puts a lot of trust in his two leads and it really pays off. That the creepy-cool idea underlying the gruesome feature merely scratches at the door of greatness is fine because it is nonetheless compelling as a Cronenbergian take on Inception. The journey is well worth taking, pitfalls and all, because of the sheer artistry--be it via practical effects or performance--on display throughout. Beyond that, it's almost touching (in a bizarre way, of course) to see Cronenberg Jr. not only following in his father's viscera-tracking footsteps but doing so while displaying his own chilling voice.

P.S. This would easily make one very fucked up but thoroughly compatible double bill with Cronenberg Sr.'s eXistenZ. Both share several thematic similarities and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Scavenger Hunt 62 #9 out of 31 - Watch a film which could have been an episode of the Twilight Zone.

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