Brandon Cronenberg paved his own path onto the horror radar with 2012’s highly acclaimed Anitviral. Arriving in limited theaters and drive-ins on October 2nd is his latest, Possessor, and Horror News Network has already viewed the uncut version.
Possessor is described officially as, “an arresting sci-fi thriller about elite, corporate assassin Tasya Vos. Using brain-implant technology, Vos takes control of other people’s bodies to execute high profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her.”
Tasya, played by Andrea Riseborough, carries out high-priced assassinations by taking over complete strangers’ bodies. Things go awry on her latest mission when she takes over the body of Colin Tate, portrayed by Christopher Abbott. The concept is unique and can actually be just as destabilizing for the audience as it is for the main character. We see Tasya toggle two worlds, as well as two bodies. Her job is to study and inhabit the targeted killer for days and to live their life until they carry out the mission and kill themselves. The acting by the main characters, Risborough and Abbot, is top-notch. Abbott gives a gut-wrenching performance to the point where the audience can’t tell at certain points whether Tasya or Colin is on control of his body.
Cronenberg does an exceptional job in the director’s chair, with precise attention to detail. The atmosphere and the lighting can be slick and dreamy and then with to stark and straightforward with each tone assisting to drive the story. Cronenberg also shows fearlessness in the gruesome and shocking kill scenes. While some of it may seem a bit extra, it’s really not if you consider the mental decline of both inhabitants of Colin’s body. The fact that we care about Tasya as a human also makes it more relatable. However, the fact that Cronenberg’s story does not play into any old horror tropes means the audience can’t be sure of her fate. The suspense of that piece feels gripping for the viewer, who also feels like they are floating between two bodies.
Possessor is definitely one of the most unpredictable, original and engaging horror films of the last few years. While 2020 has been a famine for moviegoers, Cronenberg serves up a bloody feast horror fans will want to see.