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Octoblur 2016 - #06: Possession (1981)

Octoblur 2016 - #06: Possession (1981)

Directed by Andrzej Zulawski
Written by dorrk
05 October 2016

Don't open! Don't open! Don't open! Don't open! Please don't open!

I thought I had seen Possession decades ago, but surely I would never have forgotten Isabelle Adjani's ape-shit performance.

Right from the start, it's clear that the married couple in Possession — Adjani and Sam Neill — do not inhabit the same reality as the rest of us, as they communicate in the most absurdly dysfunctional manner. As their marriage quickly disintegrates, they externalize their emotions in frightening ways, like exhibiting symptoms of drug-withdrawal, cutting themselves and each other, manifesting goopy creatures, and committing murders. Director Andrzej Zulawski strikes the perfect balance between psychological horror and the darkest of black humors. This would make a great double feature with David Cronenberg's The Brood for any couple on cusp of separation.

Possession feels a bit drawn-out at times, especially when Adjani is off-screen, and works best when the two of them are together, demonstrating the worst possible way for estranged spouses to interact. All together, however, Possession is a pretty astounding work of art-house horror, with Adjani going completely crazybrains in one of the best horror performances to-date.

Octoblur 2016 - #06: Possession (1981)

Trailer for Possession (1981)