The Killer inside me
Total Film|December 2020
Brandon Cronenberg’s techno-thriller Possessor is being hailed as the genre film of the year. He sits down with Total Film to turn the gun on himself and pull the sick-trigger on a film so disturbing it would make his dad squirm.
JAMIE GRAHAM
There are many things worth knowing about Brandon Cronenberg’s sophomore movie Possessor. First and foremost is that it’s violent. Shockingly, sick-making violent. The sort of violence that might make you queasy even if you’ve breezed through all the movies by Brandon’s dad, David, whose ’70s shockers Shivers, Rabid, and The Brood earned him such nicknames as Baron of Blood and Dave Deprave.

You’ll know if you’re up to it in the first five minutes, when a prologue to the main action sees a woman at some posho event squish an electrode into the back of her skull (check out that sound design) before walking up to a guy in formal attire and stabbing him, not once, not twice, but many, many times. And still, the blade plunges down after he’s dead. After, in fact, his neck and chest have been reduced to mincemeat.

“It’s interesting to hear who’s shocked by the film,” says Cronenberg with a chuckle as he chats on Zoom from his home in Toronto. “For instance, you have the Kill List poster on the wall behind you, so you’re familiar with the hammer scene, and [effects and makeup designer] Dan Martin’s work with Ben Wheatley. Some of the shocking elements of our film are just from the fact that Dan is incredibly good at what he does, and because you can shoot things when you’re working with someone that talented that you wouldn’t otherwise. We had a probe lens that would let us get about a half-inch away from Dan’s fake heads, and yet these heads held up because he’s that good at what he does.”

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