6.5/10 Writer/director Brandon Cronenberg’s famous father of the same profession, David Cronenberg, is one of my favorite directors (especially when it comes to the horror genre) and I have been going through his filmography throughout 2020 since the horror of his films seems to coexist nicely with the year we are all going through. Now his son Brandon is following in his father’s footsteps, although at a much slower pace. Whereas David put out a film every two to three years for the majority of his career, it has been a long eight years since Brandon’s first and most recent film, “Antiviral”, came out. His follow-up has finally arrived and although he still has a little bit more growing and maturing to do as a film maker, he does show great promise and has a handle on several aspects of his profession. If “Inception” was about entering people’s minds to achieve a goal, “Possessor” is about entering people’s bodies with those same intentions. Although the premise deeply reminded me of “Inception”, this is a very different film than the Christopher Nolan classic. Instead of a PG-13 multi layered, mind melting film, we get an extremely graphic, uncut (NC-17), blend of psychological horror that holds nothing back. This has some graphic sex, nudity and violence so if those things turn you off, you will want to avoid this. However, if you are as desensitized as I am, you will find these elements almost refreshing in the sense that a studio isn’t clamping down on the director’s vision. Cronenberg continues his trend of casting odd, unique looking lead actors for his films (from Caleb Landry Jones to Andrea Riseborough) and his cast for this film is even bigger and more prestigious than his last effort with some memorable performances to be found here. The ideas and concepts, despite having been touched upon in other films, are well executed and deep, while avoiding becoming pretentious. The mood and atmosphere are well established, making this a solid film to watch around Halloween. As for the problems, the pacing could have been ever so tighter, as a few scenes lag slightly. The score is rather bland and forgettable and although the film has some fascinating visuals, I couldn’t help but think Cronenberg could have pushed them even further. In the end, the film isn’t as memorable overall as I would have liked, but you will be engaged and entertained as you watch. Not for the faint of heart, “Possessor” is flawed but worth a viewing if you are a serious horror fan. I was slightly disappointed that we had to wait eight years for a film that isn’t a masterpiece, but here’s to hoping that Cronenberg took his quarantine time to get some writing done so we won’t have to wait so long for his next feature.
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