With Brandon Cronenberg's debut feature film Antiviral, he depicted a world in which our society was so obsessed with celebrities that they would purchase viruses that had passed through famous people to then infect themselves with just to share that intimate connection. The filmmaker blended high-concept themes and narrative threads with grotesque visuals, with the director finally delivering a follow-up experience with Possessor Uncut. In this film, the narrative itself feels slightly more grounded, while it's the visuals that are really elevated to a cerebral level. Cronenberg recently opened up about translating his concepts to words for the script and then into the visuals he had conjured. Possessor Uncut lands in select theaters and drive-ins on October 2nd.
"There's sort of two versions of that," Cronenberg shared with ComicBook.com when asked to detail his process of relaying his ideas to others. "One is a version where I say, 'The image deforms, there are some pulsing flashing things and some nightmare images,' and so on. And that's a shorthand that I use because I know I'm gonna develop that with, again, Karim [Hussain], my cinematographer, and Dan Martin, our effects guy. Those things are gonna come through experimentation and process. And so I know that going in. So I just put something that reads well so that people get the gist of it, but the specifics are gonna come through our collaboration. Sometimes I know, when I'm writing it, very specifically what I wanna shoot."
As for the other version, the filmmaker added, "And it's funny, there'll occasionally be a draft where I write in very, very specific terms what's gonna happen in that hallucinatory sequence. And then I'll get a producer or someone say, 'You've gotta just, like, cut those down. 'Cause ... it's important from a directing standpoint, because you need to know this stuff, but you've gone into too much detail when you're trying to figure it out. It doesn't read well, you should tone it down a bit just for the read." And then it becomes notes on the side."
Possessor Uncut is an arresting sci-fi thriller about elite, corporate assassin Tasya Vos [Riseborough]. Using brain-implant technology, Vos takes control of other people’s bodies to execute high profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Colin [Abbott] Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her.
With both of his films existing in a not-too-distant future and tackling sci-fi themes, we couldn't help but wonder if the narratives existed in the same universe.
"I would love it if there were [connections]. Cinematic universes are big right now," Cronenberg joked. "If I could just find a good way to link the two of them, then I might be really in business."
He added, "To be honest, the thing is I like to use science fiction and horror from a satirical angle to discuss who we are and to discuss real-world issues. And so both of those films, whether they exist in the same universe or not, were both, in my mind, conceived of as almost alternate realities. So, for instance, the technology in Possessor could exist. I did spend some time researching the neuroscience behind it. It's fascinating and terrifying. And there is a world where something like that is possible. It just, in reality, would be in the distant future but I wanted to create a world that was more familiar. I was actually thinking of it as being set in Toronto in an alternate universe 2008, where that technology has developed at a different rate so that it can be more satirical, I guess, and metaphorical and not really predictive sci-fi."
Possessor Uncut lands in select theaters and drive-ins on October 2nd.
Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!