‘Possum’ Is a Nightmare-Fueled Movie That Deserves a Bigger Audience
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‘Possum’ Is a Nightmare-Fueled Movie That Deserves a Bigger Audience

One movie that deserved a wider theatrical launch was Possum. Matthew Holness’ debut had a particularly restricted theatrical launch in each the UK and U.S., and the overall gross was $33,225. Holness’ deeply disturbing film is an extremely courageous movie and difficult to make a movie with so little dialogue and arguably, subsequent to no plot, harking back to Stalker’s repetitiveness, tempo, and creeping uncanny dread.

What Is ‘Possum’ About?
It begins with a sequence of jump-cuts and a voiceover of Phillip (Sean Harris) narrating a creepy poem, a wide-angle shot of his silhouette in opposition to a night sky, watching a bag in a distant bed room with a pained expression on his face earlier than segueing into the opening titles. The BBC Radiophonic Rating is accompanied by close-ups of a distressed Philip, disjointed pictures of the East Anglian panorama, and stop-motion animation providing a short glimpse of what he’s hiding in that giant brown bag. All of the imagery is solid in sickly inexperienced and a yellow filter.

Phillip is a tortured puppeteer returning to East Anglia by prepare. Within the seats reverse him sit a bunch of teenage boys, and he watches one boy, who’s illustrating intently. The boy catches him wanting and shuts the notepad, and so they depart the prepare, just for Philip to observe and ask him what he was drawing. Shocked, the boy runs again to his mates. Phillip returns to a run-down home, home windows boarded up, the backyard overgrown, with the inside wallpaper peeling, filthy carpets, and shut doorways. Upstairs he reads from a scrap/storybook about youngsters in peril from sinister males and big spiders. He takes the brown bag to the yard, removes the factor inside, and spots a fox watching him. Nightmares and actuality overlap in Possum, usually to nauseating impact. The factor has returned when he wakes from a nap.

The one different occupant within the derelict constructing he calls house is his creepy and filthy uncle Maurice (Alun Armstrong), who alludes to the “scandal” that introduced him again to his hometown. Philip stays monosyllabic and deflects Maurice’s barrage of questions, refusing to offer an indication of his puppetry abilities. Phillip tells Maurice the home is disgusting with its darkish corridors, shuttered home windows, grime, and filth masking each floor. Philip makes a number of extra makes an attempt to rid himself of the puppet, with every try failing. And when the boy from the prepare goes lacking, he turns into the prime suspect.

Is ‘Possum’ A Ghost Story? A Haunted Youngsters’s Story? Fundamental Weirdness?
At first look, Possum could seem as a back-to-basics ghost story within the vein of Johnathan Hill or Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. It’s a psychological character research a few traumatized man eking out an existence in a small city, and struggling within the aftermath of one thing horrible he’s unable to specific. Matthew Holness is firing on all cylinders: hypnagogic-induced wanderings, animal mutilation, displaced folks, tainted locations, and lacking youngsters. Possum echoes Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, Tales from the Crypt, and the writing of Roald Dahl. Very like the animation of David Firth, it captures the essence of nightmares and a quintessentially British random air of weirdness.

Repetitiveness works within the movie. We see Philip return to the woods, and we see him on a bridge, however usually we aren’t certain if these horrifying sequences are goals or actuality, or a mixing of each. He briefly contemplates suicide. He watches a information report, and discovers {that a} man becoming his description is needed in reference to the disappearance. Maurice tells him that persons are speaking — he is not clear about what. Maurice is leaving and warns Phillip to maintain a low profile. He stands at his old skool gates and is warned away by a instructor. He later goes again right into a childlike and distressed state demanding to see a instructor, who he hopes will take him to the police.

‘Possum’ Is Crammed With Freudian Unease
Tailored from Holness’s personal brief story in The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease (first revealed in 2008 and reissued in 2018 by Comma Press) with every story constructed round a Freudian immediate. The movie turns into extra summary and weird because the story strikes in direction of its conclusion. Nightmares and actuality overlap, Phillip begins to regress to a childlike state, visions of balloons indoors are engulfed by smoke, Possum is weighed down with rocks, and he returns, hanging on the wall, or in mattress face-to-face with the protagonist. Miles of empty panorama, deserted buildings, and lengthy empty corridors filled with shadows. Maurice bullies Phillip into sharing a disturbing reminiscence of the marshes, involving excessive animal abuse. All the things in Possum induces unease, disgust, or bewilderment.

It is not all sinister fashion over substance although. Regardless of solely having two major characters, Possum’s Phillip is well-developed, innocuous, and maybe unlikeable, however it’s a testomony to Holness’s talent as a author and director that we care about him by the movie’s conclusion. Maurice is sleazy and malevolent with no redeeming qualities by any means. And but, he’s depicted as completely human and never a whole monster. Holness stays devoted to the supply materials and expands a tough brief story right into a characteristic script that may have appeared unfilmable to every other director. The allegory on the darkish coronary heart of the story is, in fact, Possum, the puppet, is a psychological straightjacket for Phillip and that is conveyed in each a restrained and refined approach, the belief of what it represents is a intestine punch for audiences.

‘Possum’ Has Very Little Dialogue
Holness regarded to the silent period of filmmaking within the expressionist cinema of Robert Wiene’s The Cupboard of Dr. Caligari and FW Murnau’s Nosferatu, and it’s an fascinating approach of telling the story of a mostly-silent tortured ventriloquist who refuses to (or is unable to) specific himself vocally. “Movies like Nosferatu and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (the Nineteen Twenties model), The Cupboard of Dr. Caligari, these German silent horror movies all fed into Possum not directly,” the director advised Film4Online’s Alice Werdine. Holness has cited British Public Providers from the Seventies as basic in serving to him form the plot of Possum. British Providers Movies have been designed as warnings to the general public about automobile accidents, baby abductions, or worse-case eventualities, with disturbing visible content material and narrated in a nonchalant voiceover, typically by Jimmy Saville.

Possum takes the killer doll trope deep into the Uncanny Valley. The creature is the definition of Uncanny Valley with a disturbingly lifelike (and but, not like several human face you’re ever going to see) human head and lengthy, bushy spider legs. One terrifying sequence has Philip sitting on his mattress with the bag at its edge. First, the legs emerge, then the face, it watches him for just a few seconds, and in a quick blur of motion is sort of on him. “The factor is, usually probably the most ‘easy’ wanting and ‘low tech’ builds are the trickiest,” creature designer Adam Johansen advised HeyUGuys. “Possum was a tough puppet to construct and difficult to function as you might be coping with eight lengthy, skinny, articulated legs and a hand puppeteered physique and head. It requires a number of puppeteers to function it.”

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