Review: POSSUM (2018)

Much of the pre-release publicity for POSSUM centered on its writer/director Matthew Holness and his television show GARTH MARENGHI’S DARKPLACE. The best advice I can give potential viewers is to forget all of that because this is no similarity between the two. There isn’t even a hint of humour in this film, this is a grim piece of work indeed.

Philip (Sean Harris CREEP, THE BANISHING) is a puppeteer who is under the cloud of an undisclosed disgrace. With nowhere else to go, he returns to the home of stepfather Maurice (Alun Armstrong KRULL, SLEEPY HOLLOW). It’s a dismal, mouldy and decrepit place, still showing damage from the fire that killed his parents. Almost immediately he’s in the backyard placing something in a barrel and burning it.

Possum 1

That something would be Possum, the spider-like puppet he blames for his problems. But Possum, like its namesake, only plays dead and will be back repeatedly to haunt Philip, along with other dark things from his past.

POSSUM revolves around the bitter interplay between these two, Maurice is a nasty, misanthropic old bastard with no redeeming qualities. As for Philip, we can’t tell if he’s a broken victim or a predator. In either case, there’s no denying he has major mental issues. And that a large part of the film may be occurring in his mind.

Possum 2

Shot in a world that seems to be entirely colored in shades of piss yellow and muddy shit brown, POSSUM looks as diseased and unclean as it feels. Which is appropriate as it builds to a climax that will leave you feeling tainted for having seen it.

Much more disturbing than actually frightening, POSSUM is an odd choice for releasing at this time of the year, especially in the US where Thanksgiving and Christmas are on peoples minds. Then again, after this, no matter how bad dealing with your family may be, it will seem pleasant and cheerful compared to this.

A film for those not easily disturbed and who can take a film with nothing to lighten its darkness, POSSUM will be available from Dark Sky Films November 2nd.

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