‘Possessor’ (2020) | Horror Review | Patrick Beatty Reviews

Directed By: Brandon Cronenberg
Written By: Brandon Cronenberg
In Theaters: Oct 2, 2020  Limited
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: NEON

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Debuting at Sundance this past year, ‘Possessor’ is directed by Brandon Cronenberg and takes place in a techno-dream like Toronto in 2008. The opening of this film centers around Tasya Vos (played by Andrea Riseborough) who has hijacked the body of another woman, who she is using to assassinate a businessman. As she is continuously stabbing the man in the neck, police quickly coming to arrest the woman who she is inhabiting, but suddenly is ripped back to her own body, being pulled out of a ‘Matrix-like’ machine that she used to possess the other person. Cronenberg gives us a horrific tease of whats to come in this ‘Black Mirror-like’ film that delves into what it means to be a person, where consciousness lies in a body, and how it can be taken advantage of.

‘Possessor’ is a film that takes the premise of consciousness that has been explored in many other iterations. From ‘Bladerunner’ to ‘Ghost in the Shell’, the idea is fascinating for me and when you add neon lighting, sci-fi horror, with practical horror effects and great performances, you’ve got my attention. The practical horror effects in this are really gruesome, skin melts off of faces in nightmarish imagery that will keep you up at night. I love the acting of all the main characters, Jennifer Jason Leigh is a part of the business that puts Tasya Vos into the “possession machine” and as always is great in whatever she does.

The only thing I wish had happened with this film is that it expanded more on it’s premise. ‘Possessor’ seems to over promise the audience with what could be a very well thought out and expansive story, but it feels more like the pilot to a new series than a fully fleshed out film. It’s still a very good watch and it has a clever style and horrific moments, but I feel a few more scenes expanding the world of ‘Possessor’ would have more than justified themselves for the runtime. Nevertheless, Cronenberg delivers the best horror film of the year 2020.

I’m giving Possessor an 8/10

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