Movie Review: Possum (2018) Possum : Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong: Movies & TV

Title: Possum

Director: Matthew Holness

Actor(s): Sean Harris, Alum Armstrong

Genre: Horror/Drama

Runtime: 1 hour 25 minutes

Rating: A

Recommended?: Yes

Although it’s decidedly not for everyone, Possum is a chilling little descent into hell with a heartbreaking lead performance from Sean Harris. It’s one of those movies (like Eraserhead) that has the aesthetic of a really disturbing nightmare and is so uncomfortable yet so hard to look away.

Harris plays Philip, a mentally ill puppeteer that returns to his childhood home after a career-ruining incident (visually this movie reminded me a lot of Spider by David Cronenberg- it even has a similar opening scene.)

With a minimum of cast members and dialogue, Philip is reunited with the creepy and malevolent Uncle Maurice and proceeds to try to get rid of his puppet- a horrifying spider-legged entity that almost possesses a life of its own and looks like something out of a Tool music video.

Maurice and Philip occasionally speak to each other, but their conversations are esoteric to say the least and leave a lot unsaid. They seem to inhabit their own dark little world, fueled by trauma and pain. Like Ralph Fiennes in Spider or Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, Sean Harris gives a profoundly strange and uncomfortable performance that crawls under your skin and stays there.

Throughout the movie I was trying to figure out whether I should feel bad for him or whether he was a predator who was enacting his abuse on other people. If you like hole-in-the-wall indie films that are more psychologically scary than traditional horror, I’d highly recommend this movie. Matthew Hollness is a talent to watch.

Here’s an article on the symbolism in this movie that I found interesting (with spoilers)


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