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By James Whittington, Tuesday 12th March 2019 Possum Certificate 15 Bulldog Film Distribution
Attending FrightFest as part of the Horror Channel team is a blast, getting to mingle with the regulars, the whole Horror Channel team, the guests, the FrightFest crew etc but the downside is that sometimes you miss a movie you've been dying to catch. This was the case for Possum, the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness. I had heard so much about this and the creepy poster gave little away so when my review copy came through the post I immediately sat down to watch. What I saw made my jaw drop, my skin creep and my mind race.
The story follows disgraced children's puppeteer Philip (Sean Harris), returning to his childhood home of Fallmarsh, Norfolk, intent on destroying Possum, a hideous puppet he keeps hidden inside a brown leather bag. When his attempts fail, Philip is forced to confront his sinister stepfather Maurice (Alun Armstrong) in an effort to escape the dark horrors of his past.
Anyone expecting this to be of the same ilk as Matthew's other work such as Garth Marenghi's Darkplace you'll be quite shocked as it's a bizarre, dark and chilling film which manages to be surreal, raw and enchanting all at the same time. With a distinct nod to gritty, urban horror of the 1970s, Possum contains many sequences that truly chill with Holness proving that he has a natural eye for macabre moments to relish. Imagine if David Lynch directed an episode of The Twilight Zone and you've got the tone of this unsettling piece of cinema.
Sean Harris and Alun Armstrong are given little dialogue and play each sequence almost silently, allowing the atmosphere and relationship between them to fester and deathly gazes to fill in the blanks. This beautifully adds to the dark edge of the film making it truly unforgettable, you can sense the tension, the unspoken terror and the ever-increasing unease between them. The soundtrack from The Radiophonic Workshop adds to the retro, industrial feel, a dark invisible bleakness which makes you even more uncomfortable.
The disc comes with a superb short, A Gun for George which is a beautifully dark take on 70s crime capers but with a huge sting in its tale. I've watched this piece four or five times and feel its worth the price of the disc alone.
Possum is an original, creepy, unnerving, and unmissable piece of work with one of the most memorable "creepy puppets" you have ever seen.
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