Brandon Cronenberg, son of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, of course, has returned with his first feature in eight years since 2012’s Cannes premiere “Antiviral.” Like his father, Cronenberg sure has a predilection for gruesome, all-out body horror, as indicated early on in “Antiviral” and now in his new film “Possessor.” Working on a broader palette with a big-name indie cast including Christopher Abbott and Andrea Riseborough, Cronenberg first premiered this slick, gory, futuristic thriller at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. There, it was picked up by Neon for U.S. distribution. Watch the latest trailer below.
According to the film’s official synopsis, “Possessor is an arresting sci-fi thriller about elite, corporate assassin Tasya Vos (Riseborough). Using brain-implant technology, Vos takes control of other people’s bodies to execute high profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her.” The movie also features Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuppence Middleton, and Sean Bean.
In his review out of Sundance, IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich called “Possessor” a “queasy and intriguing mix of ‘Mandy,’ ‘Inception,’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell.’” Ehrlich continued, “90 minutes of Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott engaging in ultra-gory psychic warfare over control of the latter’s body is more satisfying than what most of this year’s Best Picture nominees had to offer. … ‘Possessor’ never manages to wrest control of your mind, but it’s unnervingly good at getting under your skin.” Ehrlich also commented on the timeliness of the movie’s themes, writing, “’Possessor’ throbs with recognizably urgent concerns like gender, privacy, and the sins of corporate hegemony. Also: White people hijacking the bodies of black women and using them as patsies for targeted public assassinations.”
The film is also written by Cronenberg, and was up for the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema – Dramatic category in Park City back in January. In 2012, his “Antiviral” picked up the Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Next up for Neon after “Possessor” is the indie boutique label’s big Oscar hopeful for the year, “Ammonite,” starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.
“Possessor” releases on October 9 from Neon in select drive-in theaters.