Possum DVD Review

Matthew Holness is known for his turn as Gareth Marenghi, a series he starred in, wrote and directed. Now inside that series was a rich vein of homage to horror cinema of the seventies and eighties.  Within his directorial debut, it feels that the 1960s psychological thriller genre and British horror cinema has inspired it.   Phillip (played with a clever distorted presence by Sean Harris) has returned to his childhood home. He was disgraced while working as a children’s puppeteer and this has forced a most unhappy return. Maurice (Alun Armstrong ) his step father and malevonent persona, is there waiting. They never got on and as Phillip tries to discard the bag with Possum, a spider like puppet, housed in it. This causes a chain reaction of reflection, exposition and destruction. Finally it leads to bringing things to ahead.

POSSUM is a study in isolation and abandonment according to Holness. He based the film on his own short story that was published in The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease. The problem with the piece is not in its frights, its function or the horror, that seeps slowly into the film. As a first film it is an assured, unsetteling but ultimately poorly paced piece. Now I suspect that Holness wanted to focus on the aesthtics as well as the glourious cinematographic style, part public information film and part remeniscent of 1970s horror. You can also see how The Radiophonic Workshop and silent cinema, are cores to his film from the fusion of music and image. Matthew Holness even discusses this in the commentary (which is excellent and shows how assured he is as a story teller). I look forward to his next film…


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