Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Possum

Origin/Director: United Kingdom/Matthew Holness

Viewings Tally: This is my first viewing! I wanted to review a relatively new horror movie, and, once again, my Letterboxd cohorts made the recommendation.

Synopsis: A disgraced children’s puppeteer returns to his childhood home and is forced to confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets that have tortured him his entire life. [Letterboxd]

Reely Bernie’s Take: As a child of the 80s who was brought up on horror movies when Mom was out of town, I think it’s imperative to include the “disturbing” genre from time to time. It’s the kind of movie that squeezes out the response: “Well, that was sick,” or, “That was was some twisted (fill in the blank).”

If you can take the occasional Audition (1999) or Human Centipede (2009) (both considered tame by aficionados), then Possum is a cakewalk. It’s a slow, icky draw that tells its story through fragmented images and ambiguous dialogue. Many sentences are left unfinished. The camera filter subtracts colors on the screen and emphasizes palely yellows. The “protagonist” puppeteer is the most sunken, sullen example of a depressed human being you’ve ever seen (you might recognize Sean Harris as the merciless villain in the latest Mission: Impossible entries). Basically, if there is a polar opposite entity to Disney’s Pinocchio (1940), this would be it, and Pinocchio was considered one of Disney’s darkest accomplishments.

So, why watch something like this?

Because the dark cavern in our minds we choose to avoid or enter is thrilling and sometimes fun to enter for some of us. As I’ve stated before, I tend to only enter this cavern during the autumn season when the weather gets cooler, the skies get greyer, and the night darkens earlier.

This is an odd duck, no doubt, but I must say its narrative fragmentation kept me guessing and anticipating its next move. Why is our puppeteer so tortured? What images transport us into memories and what images are purely atmospheric?

And, what in the hell is in that brown, leather bag?!

The Shot that Won’t Let Go:

Cold, damp, English tundra and a scene where we watch our puppeteer throw the brown leather bag in the ditch only to go back and retrieve it. A barren, isolated moment filmed on 35mm.

Final Score: 3-legged spider puppets out of 5 (if that makes any sense)

Have any of you seen this recent, disturbing, 85-minute oddity?

17 thoughts on “Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Possum

Add yours

    1. You get it. It’s a small, indie one, kind of like Triangle, but it aims more for imagery and atmosphere, and the viewer fills in the void. So far, this has been an eclectic horror movie viewing experience since I started this thing…

      Liked by 1 person

            1. No i have not…will now though….cool!!! I love 70s horror movies.

              Oh…showing my age…I saw two 70s B horror movies in the theater in the 70s. I dragged my poor mom to them….It’s Alive and The Car

              Liked by 1 person

  1. It certainly sounds intriguing, and I like the starkness and strangeness of it. For me, even if a film is a bit of a dud, there is usually a few things to be taken from it that can disturb one’s imagination. Like The Last Winter – no means a perfect film but it just oozes atmosphere, menace and strangeness enough for me to have really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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