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Possessor (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A stylish and visceral horror thriller from Brandon Cronenberg follows an assassin who possesses people's minds via a cutting edge technology from a clandestine organization to carry out her kills.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Possessor is writer/director Brandon Cronenberg’s, (son of David Cronenberg) second feature film. It is obvious Cronenberg has inherited his father’s sense of the macabre, off kilter, and heightened sense of reality with this highly stylized, sci-fi, horror/thriller.

Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an agent for a covert organization that uses innovative brain-implant technology to allow Tasya to invade people’s minds and conduct perfectly untraceable assassinations for high paying clients. When someone wants one of the nation’s leading businesspeople, John Parse (Sean Bean) killed, Tasya possesses the body of his daughter Ava’s (Tuppence Middleton) boyfriend Colin (Christopher Abbott), begins to live his life and setup a plausible murder-suicide scenario.

But Tasya has a hitch in her programming/implant. She begins to fall in love with Ava and she has also been unable to ‘end’ her assignments by killing, or rather, committing suicide while possessing her host, which leads to complications.

Cronenberg creates an atmospheric, stylistic alternate world with Possessor where everyone seems to be living in a heightened sense of reality. Gorgeous, modernist settings, shadowy rooms, tight closeups on faces, a score from Jim Williams that is lush and atmospheric. The film begins as a mysterious thriller and slowly builds towards more visceral gore porn that is both shocking and ultimately a release of the slow-building tension.

Possessor cuts across genres blending the best of sci-fi, horror, and thrillers of old. This is both contemporary and throwback territory and one that is awesome to watch alone in the dark.

Purchase Possessor 4K Ultra HD on Amazon UK

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh and Andrea Riseborough in Possessor (2020)
  • Andrea Riseborough in Possessor (2020)
  • Tuppence Middleton and Christopher Abbott in Possessor (2020)
  • Christopher Abbott in Possessor (2020)
  • Andrea Riseborough in Possessor (2020)
  • Kaniehtiio Horn in Possessor (2020)
  • Possessor 4K Ultra HD (Second Sight)

The Video

Possessor was shot on the Arri Amira with Canon K35, Laowa 24mm Macro Probe, 90mm Macro Kilar and Angenieux 25-250 Vintage Zoom lenses in ProRes 4444 (2.8K). A 4K DI was used and this is presented in a 1.78:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement approved by director Brandon Cronenberg and cinematographer Karim Hussain. I have the Turbine 4K steelbook release from Germany and compared this Second Sight release to it. I can say that the differences between the two – of any – are extremely subtle. The Turbine perhaps shows a little more “grit” in the digital noise or added grain, whichever it is. Otherwise, they are quite similar. There is superb shadow detail and just enough pop in the highlights. Primaries really standout with a lot of vibrancy, such as when there is a room flooded with red light.

The Audio

I would have to say the lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for Possessor on the 4K release from Second Sight has just as much impact as it did on the Blu-ray release of the film when I reviewed the Well Go release. It is still just the sort of mix you want for a thriller like this. There is sound of water running from the far side, or doors swinging open from off to the side, footsteps creep up from behind you, conversations waft in from rooms off to the left, and the score caresses you in its lushness. Comparing it to the available Atmos mix on the German Turbine release, it stands up very well as I could barely discern any differences between the two. It seems the Atmos mix from Turbine just adds very subtle atmospherics in the height channels.

The Supplements

If you pick up the limited edition you get the usual gorgeous packaging and extras from Second Sight, such as a book and collectible cards. The other bonus features include an audio commentary with Cronenberg and Hussain, interviews with Cronenberg and Hussain, and more.

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Marko Manev
  • 120-page book featuring extensive behind the scenes gallery, script-to-screen comparisons, new essays by Stacey Abbott, Anton Bitel, Jon Towlson and Heather Wixson
  • Six collectors’ art cards

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary by Brandon Cronenberg, Rob Cotterill, Karim Hussain, and Dan Martin
  • This Unfamiliar Life: An Interview with writer/director Brandon Cronenberg (1080p; 00:21:03)
  • Inside the Machine: An Interview with director of photography Karim Hussain (1080p; 00:27:05)
  • Feel the Real: An interview with producer Rob Cotterill (1080p; 00:24:01)
  • Disassociating from Mind and Body: Zoë Rose Smith on Possessor (1080p; 00:24:18)
  • Camera Test Footage (1080p; 00:06:01)
  • FX Show and Tell with Dan Martin (1080p; 00:10:25)
  • Archive featurette: A Heightened World – A Look at Possessor (1080p; 00:10:27)
  • Archive featurette: Identity Crisis – Bringing Possessor to Life (1080p; 00:14:39)
  • Archive featurette: The Joy of Practical – The Effects of Possessor (1080p; 00:12:08)
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 00:08:11)
  • Short Film: Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You (1080p; 00:09:32)
  • Trailer (1080p; 00:01:09)

The Final Assessment

A visceral film that shows growth for Cronenberg who continues to move out from his father’s looming shadow. The film continues to look and sound gorgeous and is a contemporary cult classic not to be missed.


Possessor is out on 4K Ultra HD (and Limited Edition Dual Format) in the UK March 18, 2024 from Second Sight Films.

Purchase Possessor 4K Ultra HD on Amazon UK


  • Rating Certificate: UK: 18
  • Studios & Distributors: Rhombus Media | Rook Films| Particular Crowd | Second Sight Films
  • Director: Brandon Cronenberg
  • Written By: Brandon Cronenberg
  • Run Time: 104 Mins.
  • Street Date: 18 March 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English HOH
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A stylish and visceral horror thriller from Brandon Cronenberg follows an assassin who possesses people's minds via a cutting edge technology from a clandestine organization to carry out her kills. Possessor (4K UHD Review)