Possessor film review: Fans of Cronenberg senior will find plenty to savour in this work from his offspring
- Credit: Signature Entertainment
Film critic Paul Steward reviews violent sci-fi horror movie Possessor, from the visionary mind of writer director Brandon Cronenberg.
Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the great David Cronenberg, this sci-fi horror stars Andrea Riseborough as an operative for a secretive organisation, who use advanced brain implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies and drive them to commit assassinations for high paying clients.
Riseborough is Tasya Vos, an agent with a special gift for this line of work.
However, her experiences inhabiting others have taken their toll on her home life and now also threaten her metal stability as she struggles to contain her violent urges.
When her latest target Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) refuses to be possessed quite so easily, things start to unravel for Vos, putting the mission, her sanity and her family in grave danger.
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Also starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as Vos’s unscrupulous line manager Girder, the film is high concept sci-fi with elements of psychological drama, whilst Cronenberg, clearly influenced by the early work of his father, uses impressive practical effects to inject realistic and wince inducing kill scenes into his sophomore feature.
Support comes in the form of Tuppence Middleton and the ever-reliable Sean Bean, who star as father and daughter Ava and John Parse, Vos’s targets for assassination.
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In the crucial role of the possessed Tate, Abbott delivers an impressive turn. His performance gradually building in intensity as the conflict within his mind grows.
The often unsung Riseborough is always a chameleonic presence on screen and again blends effortlessly into to the role Vos, delivering a deliberately emotionless performance.
Cronenberg’s direction is slick and he is clearly a talented filmmaker, inheriting a love of body horror from his father.
The deeply violent gore may be too much to stomach for some, whilst its cold, detached nature and the film’s overall weirdness, mean this may not be a hit with everyone.
However, fans of Cronenberg senior will find plenty to savour in this work from his offspring.
An intriguing sci-fi inflected thriller, which challenges what it really means to be yourself, and featuring enough violent bloodletting to please even the most hardened of gorehounds.