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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Hubie Halloween, The Witches and Possessor Uncut”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the seventh episode. There was quite a lot of Halloween-related news this week, including the release of Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween on Netflix, the trailer for The Witches on HBO Max in the United States, and the release of Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor Uncut wherever cinemas were open.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

Non-Review Review: Possessor

Possessor is a brutal and graphic slice of body horror, unsettling and uncanny in equal measure.

It seems unfair to define writer and director Brandon Cronenberg by his relationship to his father, Canadian horror maestro David Cronenberg. The fact that it’s possible to draw a clear line from his father’s work on films like Scanners, The Brood and Videodrome through to Possessor only makes these comparisons more obvious and ubiquitous. However, Brandon Cronenberg has already established himself as a potent force in the body horror genre with his feature debut, AntiViral.

She can explain the plot until she’s red in the face…

Possessor is a grotesque and creepy addition to the genre. The movie focuses on Tasya Vos, a professional assassin who completes her assignments by hijacking the body of somebody close to her target, allowing her to infiltrate their inner circle and carry out the murder in that persona. As the premise suggests, Possessor is rife with body horror. The film is built around the classic body horror nightmare, the realisation that the human body is ultimately nothing more than an often malfunctioning machine made of meat, equally often at odds with the mind driving it.

At the same time, Possessor is perhaps a little too broad and too abstract. Possessor is obviously a body horror, but its storytelling often feels closer to the more abstract social horrors that are popular in modern American independent cinema, films like She Dies Tomorrow. This is interesting in some respects, but also leaves the film feeling a little too vague at points. The problem isn’t that Possessor has nothing to say, it’s more that it’s trying to say everything at once. While this confusion is occasionally effective given the themes of the story, it is also frequently frustrating.

Piecing it together.

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Non-Review Review: AntiViral

AntiViral is a dirty film. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s unnerving. It’s not for the squeamish. And I mean that in a good way. It’s a fairly disturbing exploration of the public’s (and the media’s) relationship to celebrity, and the lengths to which people will go in order to insert themselves into the life of their idol or role model. It’s a vicious and sometimes unsettling look at what our attitude towards those people says about us as a society, imagining a world that sadly isn’t too far from the world as we know it. I think that might be the most disturbing facet of AntiViral. It’s not too far from where we are now.

What a vial trade…

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