Poster for Possessor (2020), dir. Brandon Cronenberg (image courtesy NEON)

Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an assassin who makes her kills by remotely controlling the bodies of others. Doing so threatens to dissolve her own sense of self, particularly when she takes over Colin (Christopher Abbott) for an important job. The longer she stays in his body, the more their consciousnesses bleed together. Possessor, written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg (son of body horror maestro David Cronenberg), depicts this breakdown in horrifically vivid ways.

After a run in virtual cinemas and drive-ins, Possessor is hitting VOD in uncut form (the previous R-rated version had a few explicit sexual shots excised). Befitting his name, Cronenberg concocts some truly vivid goriness here, from depictions of a woman melting inside her head to some violence done with a fire poker to the face that you won’t ever forget. What’s truly frightening, though, is how it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish whether Colin or Tasya is in control — whether it is a cold-blooded contract killer or a man who feels he’s been given license to cut loose his frustrations who is unleashing death around them. In this sci-fi thriller, the dehumanizing effect of technology becomes brutally, physically literal.

Possessor is now available on VOD.

Dan Schindel is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Brooklyn, and a former associate editor at Hyperallergic. His portfolio and links are here.