POSSESSOR (2020) Review by Steve Kirkham

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    POSSESSOR (2020)

    4 stars
    Second Sight. Dual Limited Edition 4K UHD and Blu Ray. Out Now
    I wonder if Brandon Cronenberg ever considered changing his name, like Joe Hill did, to escape the long shadow cast by his father? As it is he has managed to carve out a career of his own starting with his debut in 2012 with ANITIVIRAL and also last year’s INFINITY POOL (which I have to say I preferred to his Dad’s recent return to our screens with CRIMES OF THE FUTURE). Sandwiched in between is the film at hand, a challenging psychological science fiction thriller – whilst there are undoubtedly similarities in their work, Brandon’s films veer more to the sci-fi.
    The ever excellent Andrea Riseborough gives an appropriately nervy performance as Tasya Vos, the top assassin at a shady, clandestine operation run by Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Using cutting edge future tech – with much of the machinery used pleasingly analogue, with switches and buttons – she is able to inhabit the body of another person and use them to carry out the killing; someone close to the intended target, thereby leaving no clue as to the actual murderer. Remote liquidation!
    For her latest she is taking over one Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott), who is fiancé to Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton), daughter to the intended victim – her father, corporation head John Parse (Sean Bean relishing his role).
    But as Tasya’s own reality and emotional stability begins to crumble, she is in danger of compromising her latest, and potentially hardest, assignment yet and also complicating her ability to come out of the integration without a damaged psyche.
    I first reviewed this for the magazine back when it was released at the flicks – rewatching it, it has lost none of its power. It looks splendid on this 4K, as you would kind of expect of a film of such recent vintage.
    The story sets it’s stall early, with a shocking and violent opening scene – this is a visually thrilling movie, mixing in weird imagery with often savage, bloodthirsty and intense sequences. It is both gripping and startling – a mind bending hybrid of science fiction ideas married to the viscera of horror, with scenes bathed in blood. The great score by Jim Williams adds to the atmosphere and Cronenberg the younger has crafted a wild ride, with memorable imagery that will linger.
    Steve Kirkham
    EXTRAS 4 stars
    New audio commentary with Brandon Cronenberg, producer Rob Cotterill, Karim Hussain and Special Effects Artist Dan Martin
    This Unfamiliar Life: a new interview with Brandon Cronenberg
    Inside the Machine: a new interview with Karim Hussain
    Feel the Real: a new interview with Rob Cotterill
    Disassociating from Mind and Body: Zoë Rose Smith on Possessor
    Camera Test Footage
    FX Show and Tell with Dan Martin
    Archive featurette: A Heightened World – A Look at Possessor
    Archive featurette: Identity Crisis – Bringing Possessor to Life
    Archive featurette: The Joy of Practical – The Effects of Possessor
    Deleted Scenes
    Short Film: Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You
    Trailer
    Limited Edition Contents
    Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Marko Manev
    120-page book featuring extensive behind the scenes gallery, script-to-screen comparisons, new essays by Stacey Abbott, Anton Bitel, Jon Towlson and Heather Wixson
    Six collectors’ art cards
    Also available as a standard edition 4K UHD and standard edition Blu ray – without the book etc.

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