January 11, 2021
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:
Well Go USA;
Box Office $0.75 million;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $34.98 UHD BD
Stars Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kaniehtiio, Horn, Raoul Bhaneja, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot, Gabrielle Graham.
Director Brandon Cronenberg, son of legendary body horror filmmaker David Cronenberg, follows in his father’s footsteps with an absolute mind-trip of a sci-fi thriller.
The film deals with assassins who can take over the minds of others and use their bodies to commit the crimes for which they’ve been hired. The hosts are typically people associated with the victim, allowing them to get close enough for the hit while covering the tracks of those behind it. The hosts are then made to kill themselves so the possessors return to their own bodies.
However, those who possess the victims sometimes lose themselves in the alternate identity, requiring a strict regimen of psychological monitoring.
One such assassin is Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough), whose increasing emotional detachment leads her to struggle to remember how to be herself when with her husband and son, while her thoughts are dominated by violent imagery. Her boss (Jennifer Jason Leigh) would prefer she didn’t allow her personal attachments to interfere with her job.
The film is presented in a sort of alternate 2008, where the only change from our world is the possession technology — a covert team subdues the intended victim and implants a device in their brains that allows the assassin to control their bodies remotely using a VR headset.
Vos’ latest mission is to take over the life of a man named Colin Tate (Christopher Abbot) in order to kill his girlfriend’s father (Sean Bean), a wealthy CEO. The attack is brutal — an ingenious use of makeup and puppet effects. However, Vos has trouble forcing Colin to kill himself, and as a result he begins to take back control of his body.
What follows is a visual whirlwind of filmed psychosis, as the struggle between Vos and Colin plays out both in his head through grotesque but memorable symbolic imagery, and in the real world as the company attempts to contain him while freeing her.
Loaded with violence and unerotic sex, Possessor is not for the faint of heart. The film has been marketed as “uncut” to indicate it’s the unrated version that ran at film festivals and is considered to be the definitive version by the filmmakers, distinguishing it from a slightly shorter ‘R’-rated version that played in some theaters and is available separately on Blu-ray.
The uncut Blu-ray is available on its own and as part of the 4K Ultra HD combo pack. The 4K disc includes just the unrated cut and no extras.
The Blu-ray includes three of the films’ trailers, plus three behind-the-scenes featurettes that run under 15 minutes each — one about the story, one about the psychological themes of the film, and one about the visual effects.
There are also three deleted scenes running a total of eight minutes that detail more about the possessor process and its psychological effects.