Cronenberg sci-fi horror lives on in “Possessor”
Two people being trapped in the same body might be more terrifying than it sounds.
David Cronenberg is known for his flavor of sci-fi horror films from popular hits such as “The Fly” to cult hits like“Crash.” These movies tend to feature a technology or idea that sets the main character on a quick downward spiral as they are sucked deeper into the world’s fictional elements.
Funny enough, David Cronenberg just so happened to give birth to another film director drawn to Sci-Fi films in the same vein as him. Now being his second full length film, Brandon Cronenberg introduces “Possessor” and takes everything that made his father’s films great to expand on them with abstract and interesting film editing techniques.
Tasya Vos — played by Andrea Riseborough — is an elite assassin who works for a secret organization that uses brain implant technology to take over people’s bodies to use them as vessels to carry out high profile assassinations. The organization’s clientele is high paying and attributes hidden political agendas to their assignments.
After a semi-successful hit job, Vos is now realizing she is beginning to lose control over the technology while the price of being the best proxy assassin is simultaneously taking a toll on her both physically and mentally. Now tasked with killing a couple and the head of a multinational corporation, Vos is gradually losing control and sinking deeper into the brain implant technology.
The plot itself is unpredictable and thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the film, and with the incredible atmosphere and world that the movie provides, it’s easy to find yourself immersed within the technologically advanced dystopian world while becoming invested in its characters as well.
This movie contains beautiful abstract sequences that are deep and metaphorical as a representation of the character’s mental instabilities.
However, when it comes to the characters themselves, they can come off a little two dimensional and leave much to be desired. This movie is light on dialogue but heavy on the action. So, when there is dialogue, it can come off as a bit weird and a little awkward.
Tanya Vos is a complex character but some of her actions come off confusing and contradictory with no explanation whatsoever. I can only assume this approach was taken in order to leave most of her actions up to audience interpretation.
Christopher Abbott plays Colin Tate, one of the main victims that Vos controls, and provides a great performance playing her inside of his body. However, toward the latter half of the film as things start to become more complicated and Vos starts to lose control of the brain implant, it becomes hard to recognize who was in control of Tate’s body.
As I consider this to be one of the more gory movies to come out this year, the violence and carnage in the film can come across a little over the top. Some of it proves to be there for a purpose but other times it felt as though the movie is merely trying its best to shock viewers. When it isn’t trying though, the violence definitely aids in building tension all the way up to the film’s climax.
The characters could be a bit more fleshed out as well. Tasya Vos has unclear motives. Some of her actions are questionable and out of character. She seems emotionless, even in extremely intense situations where one should be feeling tense, but her character comes off as mildly confused.
This movie is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a gory, nightmarish experience that will leave you dazzled and confused as soon as the credits start to roll. This is not the kind of movie for you if you enjoy stories with rich backgrounds laid out from point A to point B. This is a movie that moves at a brisk pace and expects you to keep up. If you are looking for a boundary pushing sci-fi thriller, then this is one you should check out.
Star Rating: Four Stars out of Five
- Well thought out plot
- Abstract sequences are gorgeous
- Immersive world
- Lackluster backstory
- Dialogue is shallow
- Violence can be over the top