With this first installment of On the Radar, I’m taking a look at the British creeper Possum, the debut feature from Matthew Holness, a comedian who is apparently notable in the UK, but I’m admittedly unfamiliar with. While I can’t speak for his comedic talent, he certainly appears to have quite the dark streak. Possum is the story of a children’s puppeteer who returns to the home of his abusive stepfather carrying with him a satchel containing a horrific creation, the puppet Possum, that appears to be taking on a life of its own. Shot on 35mm film, Holness is apparently going for an authentic 70s/80s aesthetic for his unorthodox creature feature and, as 2014’s The Babadook featured a sinister take on children’s pop-up books, is invoking the innocent nature of both nursery rhymes and children’s puppets to corrupt for the viewer’s discomfort. “Can you spy him deep within? Little Possum. Black as sin.” The title character’s little rhyme sounds about as charming as he looks on the poster. Currently with a 7.2 rating on IMDb and an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, Possum is promising to be quite the squirm-inducing experience. According to those who have already seen it, it is of the ‘slowburn’ variety, and while I wouldn’t mind if horror had a little more fun these days, that seems to be the defining quality of this era in the genre.
Here’s a sample of what some of the critics have had to say:
“Supremely disturbing…possibly the scariest puppet ever committed to celluloid.”
- – Matthew Turner, Nerdly
“Part of its slow burn terror is just how dangerously unpredictable the whole thing feels.”
- – Josh Slater-Williams, SciFiNow
“[Possum] strikes the nerve between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. 10/10.
- – Katie Driscoll, Starburst
“Matthew Holness taps into psychological horror greatness with a cerebral picture that will lay eggs in your brain.”
- -Daniel Kurland, Den of Geek
Those are some bold reviews for this movie thus far, and it is coming to theaters in the UK on Oct. 26th and to VOD in the States on Nov. 2nd. I’ll be posting a review of my own shortly thereafter, and while I have some reservations that this might be insufferably pretentious horror exclusively for the arthouse crowd (I’ve gotten burned like that before), I have some high hopes for this eerie-looking flick.
Check out the trailer here: